Officials at Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP) have made adjustments to the campus’s indoor masking policy.

Beginning Monday, Oct. 11, masks primarily will be required in classrooms and other academic areas, such as the Garnett Library, conference rooms, study hall, the testing and tutoring centers, at its West Plains and Mountain Grove Shannon Hall campuses.

Masks also will be required in classes and conference rooms at the Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology (GOCAT), which houses several of the university’s technology degree programs.

Masks will not be required in employees’ private offices, the Carol Silvey Student Union in Hass-Darr Hall, the open computer lab in the Lybyer Technology Center or in other university buildings when walking through hallways or stairwells.

Masks also will not be required in the welding lab at the GOCAT facility

 “We’ve monitored the COVID-19 situation in our area with our healthcare partners since we implemented the temporary indoor masking policy at the start of the fall semester,” MSU-WP Interim Chancellor Dennis Lancaster said.

“In recent weeks, we’ve seen a downturn in cases in our area, as well as an increase in the number of individuals, especially on our campuses, becoming vaccinated,” he added. “We feel the timing is such that we can make these changes.”

University officials will continue to work closely with local, regional and state healthcare and public health leaders, government officials and other institutions in the state to navigate MSU-WP’s response to the pandemic, Lancaster said.

The quickest way to get back to normal, however, is to vaccinate as many members of the campus community as possible, he added. A list of vaccination opportunities in West Plains is available on the campus’s COVID-19 Information Center, WP.MissouriState.edu/Coronavirus.

“We want to encourage students, faculty and staff who have not yet received the vaccine to strongly consider doing so. With everyone doing their part, we will continue to make progress to a more normal college experience for all of us,” Lancaster said.

For more information about the policy and MSU-WP’s COVID-19 response, visit WP.MissouriState.edu/Coronavirus.

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