Missouri State University in West Plains announced plans Wednesday to reopen Aug. 17, whether in person or online. 

The Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP) campus will be fully open by Aug. 13, university officials announced Wednesday.

In mid-March, the campus closed due to COVID-19, but by Aug. 13, all areas of the campus will be open and ready to welcome on-campus students who will be moving into the residence halls, they said.

University officials also are eager to welcome students back to class on Aug. 17, whether in person or online.

“We are looking forward to the fall semester and engaging with students virtually and in person,” said Interim Chancellor Dennis Lancaster.

There will be differences in and out of the classroom, Lancaster said, but the commitment to providing a quality educational opportunity for students remains the same.

“Most of our classes will have an embedded online experience, classes will be smaller, and activities will be held but in different ways,” he said. “Even though there will be some changes to the fall semester, what remains the same is the personal attention provided by our faculty and staff to our students to assist them in reaching their educational goals. We’re here for our students, and we’re available to help in any way we can, whether this is their first semester or their last one with us.”


The university will continue to follow local, state and federal guidelines to make campus as safe as possible.

“In all of our planning, the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students are foremost in our minds,” Lancaster said.

To prepare for the reopening, a Return to Campus Guide has been published. It can be viewed at wp.MissouriState.edu/ReturnToCampus. It outlines plans for a smooth and safe return to campus.

“This guide is designed to provide information on our reopening plans and answer questions that faculty, staff or students and their parents might have about the fall semester,” Lancaster said.

The guide includes decision-making principles, health and safety measures, key information for faculty and staff, plans for academics and student success and policies for events and gatherings, including athletic events.


Lancaster said masks or cloth face coverings will be required in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained, including classrooms, labs and testing centers.

“A comprehensive policy concerning masks and testing will be available in early August,” he said.

For more information about the MSU-WP return to campus and COVID-19 policies, visit wp.MissouriState.edu/Coronavirus.

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