MU students, faculty and staff must report positive cases to university

1 month 1 week 6 days ago Monday, August 17 2020 Aug 17, 2020 Monday, August 17, 2020 2:06:00 PM CDT August 17, 2020 in News
Source: Columbia Missourian
By: Galen Bacharier, Columbia Missourian
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(Missourian) - MU students, faculty and staff are required to notify the university if they test positive for COVID-19 under new guidance issued by MU Monday.

If a student tests positive, they must notify the MU Student Health Center of that result within four hours of receiving it, according to a campus email from MU leaders. They will do so through a secure online form. The student will provide details on their activities and and whereabouts on campus since two days before their testing, as well as if they live on or off campus. 

Students must also notify their instructors that they will miss classes within that same four-hour time frame in order to make any possible remote learning arrangements, according to the new guidance.

Faculty, staff and student employees should email their supervisor, as well as their dean or division leader, according to the email.

Positive case information will be kept confidential under educational and health privacy laws. Information regarding those cases will be used to inform next steps by both MU and local health officials in cleaning surfaces, arranging remote work and contact tracing.

The new guidance is a reversal from MU's original policy, in which students who test positive would not be required to inform the university, though their tests would still be reported to the local health department.

"The safety of our students, faculty and staff is our number one priority," said UM System President Mun Choi and Provost Latha Ramchand in the campus email. "We believe these measures contribute to the health of our university community."

Symptom-tracking app

Students, staff and faculty will be required to use the symptom-tracking app #CampusClear, which MU will roll out soon.

Daily screenings will determine if an individual is able to come to campus, and the app will function as a "pass to provide access to various locations on campus," according to the email. Those locations are being determined. If someone enters one of those locations without the app, they will have their temperature taken and will be asked about their symptoms.

MU already required everyone on campus to complete a daily symptom and temperature checklist. If someone is unable to use the app, they are still required to monitor symptoms and temperature daily.

Event restrictions

Events on campus with more than 20 people are prohibited under the new guidance, a vastly lower threshold than Boone County's current 100 attendee maximum.

Outside groups' events will also mostly be prohibited, with the exception of MU's serving as a polling location for the Nov. 3 election. MU has defined an "event" as "a communal gathering on or off campus, outside of a classroom setting, lasting longer than 15 minutes," according to the email.

Those seeking special approval for an event with more than 20 attendees must complete a request form, but the only events that will be approved will be those that "support MU's academic mission" and follow health and safety protocols.

Face coverings will be mandatory at all indoor events and at outdoor events where six feet of social distancing can't be maintained. Speakers or performers will not be required to wear face coverings at events as long as social distancing can be maintained.

MU has released a full events policy.

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