MU addresses parents and students concerns in second virtual town hall

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COLUMBIA - Today MU faculty and staff answered questions from parents and students relating to COVID-19 and the upcoming school year.

The concerns mostly stem from day-to-day operations when students return to school.

Questions were submitted from parents and students. The zoom meeting was moderated by KOMU 8's Emily Spain.

"All of us on this zoom call can't wait to welcome [students] back to campus," UM System President Mun Choi, said. "We want to do it in a way that is safe for all of our constituents including our students, faculty and staff."

The concerns are just that. Parents and students are worried and wanted a clearer picture from the virtual town hall on what the school year may potentially look like.

A major concern over the first day of the "Show Me Renewal" plan was the policy that MU students do not have to notify the University if they test positive for COVID-19. MU Spokesperson Christian Basi wanted to emphasize that this doesn't mean it goes unnoticed.

One student still doesn't feel comfortable with coming back in August.

"I'm just one of 30,000 students at Mizzou approximately," Sterling Seimens, an incoming junior at MU, said. "I'm depending on 29,999 others to do their part. Do I trust 29,000 students to pull their weight? No, I'll admit I don't. There's just that thought in the back of my mind and this is my biggest concern, that someone tests positive, they don't notify anyone about it... then there's a huge outbreak on campus."

Those test results will be reported by the student's healthcare provider to the local health department who will initiate a case investigation and tracing of the student's close contacts according to Basi.

Siemens is living in a residence hall and said he's concerned about how close students interact with each other. A parent asked the same question in today's meeting.

"For the start of the semester, [students] will not be permitted to have guests," Bill Stackman, MU Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, said. "We want to make sure the environment is safe."

Scott Henderson, Assistant Director of MU Health Care answered many questions related to COVID.

"At this time we're not asking students to be tested before the start of the school year," Henderson said. "The student health center with in conjunction with MU Healthcare for our testing so we have the full resources...with that potential capability of doing upwards of 3,000 tests per day."

Students will be allowed to have take part in drive-thru testing or walk-ups at clinics that offer COVID-19 tests.

Other notable points that were addressed:

  • MU is not offering a discount on tuition due to the pandemic. Increased funding towards COVID-19 prevention methods such as: contract tracers, extensive cleaning, additional staffing and more small-group classes Mun Choi explained is the reason behind the lack of discount.
  • The campus library and tutoring centers will be available for student use. The library opens on August 17th but will not be open 24 hours a day during the school year. The student success center opens on August 17th.
  • It is recommended that those that have a medical condition and cannot wear masks during class contact the disability center early to have their accommodations met.

You can watch the full meeting here.