Preventative Measures

Policies

Reduce risk of transmitting of COVID-19

While COVID-19 can be a very dangerous disease that is easily spread, there are a few simple principles that can help keep everyone healthy. They include washing your hands, covering your mouth/nose and not standing too close to others.

Wash your hands and minimize contact with surfaces

Regularly and vigorously wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Between hand washings, use hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer stations have been placed across campus. You may also want to consider carrying a personal-size bottle of hand sanitizer, so you have one with you at all times.

Avoid touching surfaces. Throughout our day, we touch door handles, handrails, elevator buttons and many surfaces others have touched. While custodial staff is taking additional actions to keep those surfaces clean, it is not possible to do this between every person. Germs left on a surface can be picked up by the next person to encounter it, who may then become infected when they touch their mouth, nose or eyes.

Avoid using your hands. While it is natural to push a door open with your hands, consider using an arm, shoulder or foot to avoid touching the surfaces with your hands. Consider using an elbow to push an elevator button rather than your hand.

Cover your mouth/nose

Cover your mouth and nose. This is normally done by wearing a mask or cloth face covering to prevent the spread of germs. It also includes covering your cough or sneeze when you are without a face covering.

Don’t stand too close

Keep at least 6 feet of physical distance between you and others. This is generally called social distancing.

We have all felt uncomfortable when someone stands too close and is in our personal space. With COVID-19, our personal space has been extended to 6 feet because the virus generally spreads through droplets caused by someone coughing, sneezing or even talking.

Avoid shaking hands. Shaking hands has long been the standardized way of greeting others. However, it can risk the health of each person, so a friendly smile and a wave helps keep everyone healthier.

If you are unable to keep your distance, wearing a face covering becomes increasingly important, along with minimizing the amount of time you are closer than 6 feet.

Using these three principles will not only help you, but they will also help those at high-risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19.

Masks are required on campus

Masks are required to be worn in all buildings on campus, including hallways, elevators, stairwells, restrooms and department offices, and other common areas. Employees are not required to wear masks in their own, private offices within their departmental suites. Additionally, exceptions may be granted by the Dean of Academic Affairs for particular classes or academic activities for which masking is impracticable or contraindicated, provided that reasonable alternative mitigation strategies are implemented.

Furthermore, while masks are required to be worn in all buildings on campus, they are not required in the following circumstances:

  • While eating in a dining hall (including Hass-Darr student union, Kellett parlor, Lybyer lower level lobby;
  • While inside residential rooms within the residence halls; or
  • While exercising at indoor campus exercise facilities, including the Student Recreation Center or West Plains Civic Center Pool and Fitness Center.

Details about mask requirements on campus can be found in the university’s masking policy.

Requesting an accommodation

If an individual cannot wear a mask due to an underlying disability, they may initiate the university’s interactive accommodations process to request a "reasonable accommodation."

Students who wish to request an accommodation may contact the disability support officer, located in the Lybyer Technology Center, Room 210, and available at PTate@MissouriState.edu, 417-255-8062 or TTY 417-255-7715.

Employees who wish to request an accommodation may contact the deputy compliance officer, located in Carrington Hall, Suite 205, and available at JuliaHolmes@MissouriState.edu; 417-836-6755; or Relay Missouri at 711 or 800-676-3777.

Symptom monitoring and self-assessment

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe flu-like illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The most important way to prevent others from getting sick is to monitor yourself for symptoms and stay home or in your room if you have any unexplained symptoms.

The university strongly encourages every student and employee to take a few moments each morning before leaving your room or home to ask yourself if you have or are experiencing:

  • A fever (temperature over 100.4⁰F) without the use of fever-reducing medications?
  • Cough?
  • Fatigue?
  • New loss of smell or taste?
  • Muscle or body aches?
  • Sore throat?
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing?
  • Chills?
  • Headache?
  • Congestion or runny nose?
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea?

Additionally:

  • Have you, or anyone you have been in close contact with, been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  • Have you been asked to isolate or quarantine by a health care provider or a local public health official?

What to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms

If you answered yes to any of the above questions:

  • You can find information about symptoms of COVID-19 on the CDC webpage.
  • If you have unexplained COVID-19 symptoms:
    • Stay home or in your residence hall room.
    • Do not go to class, events, work or elsewhere.
  • If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1.
  • If it is not an emergency, but you need to seek medical attention contact:
    • Your primary health care provider OR
    • Students contact Ozarks Medical Center Urgent Care at 417-257-5972. University has contracted for students’ office visits.
    • Faculty and staff contact Burton Creek Rural Clinic at 417-256-6111. University has contracted with clinic to provide testing.
  • Your health care provider will determine whether you should be tested for COVID-19 and, if so, the process you should follow to be tested.
  • If you have insurance, your insurance company will be billed for the test. If you do not have insurance or if your insurance does not pay for the entire cost of the test, the patient will be responsible for the balance.
  • If you become ill after primary business hours, call Ozarks Medical Center at 417-256-9111 and tell them of your health concerns.
  • In all cases, contact the COVID-19 Response Team at COVID19@missouristate.edu or 417-255-7755. A team member will contact you to give you instructions that align with isolation and quarantine protocols established by the Howell County Health Department.
  • If you are an employee, you also need to contact your supervisor.
  • If you are a student, contact your instructors to make arrangements to keep up with your course work.

What to do if you test positive for COVID-19

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, please:

  • Stay home or in your residence hall room.
  • Do not go to class, events, work or elsewhere.
  • Contact the university’s COVID-19 Response Team at COVID19@missouristate.edu or 417-255-7755. A team member will contact you to give you instructions that align with isolation and quarantine protocols established by the Howell County Health Department.
  • If you are an employee, you also need to contact your supervisor.
  • If you are a student, contact your instructors to make arrangements to keep up with your course work.

What to do if you have been told to quarantine or have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19

If you think you might have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or have been told you need to quarantine because you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19, please:

  • Stay home or in your residence hall room.
  • Do not go to class, events, work or elsewhere.
  • Contact the university’s COVID-19 Response Team at COVID19@missouristate.edu or 417-255-7755. A team member will contact you to give you instructions that align with isolation and quarantine protocols established by the Howell County Health Department.
  • If you are an employee, you also need to contact your supervisor.
  • If you are a student, contact your instructors to make arrangements to keep up with your course work.

When you can return to campus if you tested positive or were exposed to someone who tested positive

Students, staff and faculty may not come to or move about campus if they have tested positive for COVID-19 unless they do one of the following:

  • Met the current CDC guidance to be released from isolation.
  • Been released by a healthcare provider.
  • Been released by their local health department.

Students, staff and faculty may not come to or move about campus if they have experienced any of the following symptoms within the last 10 days that are unexplained*:

  • Fever or chills.
  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
  • Fatigue.
  • Muscle or body aches.
  • Headache.
  • Sore throat.
  • New loss of taste or smell.
  • Congestion or runny nose.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

*Students, faculty and staff may not return to or move about campus unless and until they do one of the following:

  • Undergone testing for COVID-19, received results indicating that they are negative for COVID-19 infection, and provided documentation of such results to their supervisor.
  • Alternatively, may present documentation from a health care provider indicating that they have been approved to return to campus.

Students, staff and faculty may not come to campus if they have had close contact within the last 14 days with a known COVID‑19 positive person.

Students, faculty and staff must follow CDC guidance upon returning from international travel and will be tested for COVID-19 between seven and ten days of their return.

​​​​​​​COVID-19 testing and contact tracing

The university has developed a COVID-19 testing plan to reduce campus risks of an outbreak occurring on campus. The three-prong testing strategy is designed to identify cases early and limit spread.

  • Individuals with symptoms.
  • Groups identified with increased risks.
  • Ongoing testing.

No out-of-pocket costs

If you are being tested for COVID-19 as a part of the university’s testing plan it will be administered at no cost to the student or employee. The testing plan includes student-athletes, certain athletics staff, residence hall staff, international students, and anyone having traveled internationally within the past 14 days.

Contact tracing

The Howell County Health Department is responsible for contact tracing for all cases involving residents within Howell County, including individuals living on campus. The university will assist contact tracing staff to provide additional support to the campus community in addition to the health department’s efforts.

Vulnerable populations

It is important for the campus community to understand that some people are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 complications if they become infected. Based on the current data, vulnerable populations may include:

  • People 65 years of age or older.
  • Those with serious underlying health condition such as high blood pressure; heart disease; chronic lung, kidney or liver disease; diabetes; severe obesity; or moderate to severe asthma.
  • People with weakened immune systems.
  • Other circumstances that enhance risks associated with COVID-19 exposure or illness.

The university will work with employees or students who are immunocompromised or have other health concerns related to COVID-19 through existing accommodations processes.

To initiate the accommodations process, students should contact the disability support officer at PTate@MissouriState.edu or 417-255-8062.

Faculty and staff should contact the deputy compliance officer at JuliaHolmes@MissouriState.edu or 417-837-6755.

Additional information

Check online for additional CDC information about groups at higher risk for severe illness.