COLUMBIA, Mo. – Students at the University of Missouri will return to in-person and hybrid classes after Thanksgiving break.
“We’ve been very pleased with how our students, faculty, and staff have responded to the new campus requirements,” Mun Choi, UM System president and MU chancellor, said. “We have demonstrated that we can have in-person classes at Mizzou and do so safely.”
MU spokesperson Christian Basi said active cases of COVID-19 among the student body has decreased from 683 cases on Saturday, September 5 to 70 as of Thursday, October 15.
“The information we have, how everyone has been behaving on campus, we believe we can make it happen safely after Thanksgiving,” Basi said. “We feel as though a vast majority of our students have taken this very seriously. Our cases remain very low.”
Choi cited three factors that pushed officials to make this decision. He said that the campus is managing to “demonstrate that in-person classes can be delivered safely and the effects of the pandemic can be managed through adhering to safety practices.”
Choi said there is no evidence that the virus has been transmitted during in-person classes.
The next factor Choi brought up is the lack of internet access for all students. He said low-income students or students who live in rural areas with poor internet connection “could face significant challenges for online classes and final exams.”
Lastly, Choi said students who hold on-campus and part-time jobs to pay for school would be significantly impacted if campus closed early
MU officials are encouraging students to stay in town during their break. They’re trying to do this by providing meals, a holiday celebration, and offering other activities for those who choose to stay in Columbia.
Mizzou freshman Lily Dozier said she doesn’t thinking asking students to return to campus was the best decision.
“I think I would have rather seen staying through Thanksgiving or having people not go home for Thanksgiving and having us stay those extra couple of weeks,” Dozier said. “I am really concerned about going home and giving my family the virus.”
Basi said the university could change this plan to return in-person.
“Even though we made this decision, it also is not set in stone,” Basi said.
Some students, like Mizzou freshman Andreas Busse, are frustrated with the continuous change on campus.
“The constant different messaging and signaling from the university has been just really confusing and now with this move, it’s not quite clear what they want us to do or what they expect us to do,” Busse said.
Mizzou also will now require students to receive a “green light” on an app in order to get into some buildings on campus. The app is called the Campus Clear symptom-checker. The app allows students to self-check themselves to make sure they are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
Students will be required to show their “Good to go” screen to get into the Ellis Library and the MizzouRec beginning Monday, two places Basi said are high-traffic areas.
“I am fine with it because I think it forces people to make sure they feel okay because going places,” Dozier said.
Basi said if students do not download the app, students will have to answer the questions in-person.
“We are going to have individuals there checking temperatures and asking the same screening questions,” Basi said.
The university plans to implement the app other buildings over time as well.