COVID-19 Masking Policy

August 10, 2021

On July 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued new guidance, indicating that, in order to reduce the transmission of COVID‑19, individuals should wear a mask or other face covering (collectively, “Masks”) while in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. Such guidance applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

Consistent with this CDC guidance, the university is implementing the following policy in order to prevent and/or slow the spread of COVID‑19 among university community members. This policy will apply to intersession courses, for purposes of the classroom environment, effective August 16, 2021. Otherwise, this policy is effective for all campus locations as of August 22, 2021. The policy will be evaluated no less frequently than every 30 days, and is subject to modification, continuation, or discontinuation, as deemed appropriate by the president in consultation with the Board of Governors.

Applicability of policy

This policy applies to faculty, staff, students and visitors, and requires all such individuals to wear Masks covering their mouth and nose as more specifically indicated below.

This policy does not, however, apply to the Greenwood Laboratory School (“Greenwood”) or the Child Development Center (“CDC Daycare”). Rather, Greenwood and the CDC Daycare will each develop and implement their own masking policies, as approved by the Provost in consultation with the president.

Masking is required in all buildings on campus

Masks are required to be worn in all buildings on campus, including in hallways, elevators, stairwells, classrooms, restrooms, study areas, departmental suites, conference rooms and other common areas.

Exceptions to indoor masking requirements

Employees are not required to wear masks in their own private offices within their departmental suites. Additionally, exceptions may be granted by the Provost 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 the Plaster Student Union food court, or the Union Club, the Meyer Library food court and the Glass Hall food court);
  • While inside residential rooms within the residence halls;
  • While inside apartments located within university apartment buildings;
  • While exercising at indoor campus exercise facilities in designated exercise areas, including at Foster Recreation Center, Hammons Student Center, Plaster Stadium, or McDonald Hall; or
  • For speakers or performers, when speaking or performing from a speaking platform that allows for a minimum physical distance of at least 20 feet between the speaker/performer and the audience, in forums such as Hammons Student Center, Juanita K. Hammons Hall, JQH Arena or the Plaster Student Union Theatre (Note: this exception does not include faculty members or their guests who are lecturing in the classroom).

For the avoidance of doubt, masks must still be worn while entering or exiting a dining hall (including the PSU food court, the Union Club, the Meyer Library food court and the Glass Hall food court) and while waiting to obtain food in such locations.

Similarly, with respect to indoor campus exercise facilities, masks must be worn while entering or exiting an indoor campus exercise facility, and while utilizing other common areas of such facilities (including restrooms, locker rooms, stairwells, elevators and lobbies).

Masking may be required at certain activities and events

Masks may also be required to be worn at certain university activities or events that present a higher risk of transmission and/or where physical distancing of at least six feet is not feasible. In such instances, signage will be posted communicating applicable masking requirements.

Masking is not required outside

Individuals may choose to wear masks while outside on campus, but they are not required to do so.

Types and availability of masks

While this policy does not mandate the use of N95 or KN95 masks, the university will make N95 and/or KN95 masks available to all full-time and part-time employees. Individuals may, however, satisfy the requirements of this policy by wearing washable cloth face coverings. For more information about acceptable face coverings, please see:

Face coverings or masks that are made of mesh or that have open exhalation vents or holes do not satisfy the requirements of this policy.

In lieu of masking, faculty members are permitted to wear face shields while in the classroom, provided that the faculty member is able to maintain at least six (6) feet of distance from all students.

Exceptions to masking requirements

In the event that an individual cannot wear a Mask due to an underlying disability, they may initiate the university’s interactive accommodations process in order to request a “reasonable accommodation.” COVID‑19 related accommodations that were approved for the 2020-2021 academic year expired effective June 30, 2021, such that they are no longer valid. Individuals seeking a COVID‑19 related accommodation for the Fall 2021 semester must initiate the interactive accommodations process, as outlined below.

Students who wish to request an accommodation may contact the Disability Resource Center, located in Meyer Library, Suite 111, and available at; 417-836-4192; or TTY 417-836-2792. Employees who wish to request an accommodation may contact the Deputy Compliance Officer, located in Carrington Hall, Suite 205, and available at; 417-836-6755; or Relay Missouri at 711 or 800-676-3777.

Enforcement of masking requirements

Students who have not been granted an accommodation and who refuse to wear a mask while in the classroom or other academic settings are subject to administrative withdrawal, consistent with Op3.04-11 Class Disruption. Additionally, students who fail to comply with this policy in areas outside the classroom or other academic settings are subject to disciplinary action consistent with the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Employees who have not been granted an accommodation and who refuse to comply with this policy are subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

Conflict with other university policies

Notwithstanding the masking prohibitions set forth in G5.02 Expressive Activity Policy and Op1.01-1 University Rules for Speakers and Facilities Usage, individuals engaging in expressive activity on campus may wear masks that cover their mouths and noses as long as this policy remains in effect.

Updated 8/9/2021

FAQs about masking

Do I still need to wear a face covering if I have been vaccinated?

  • Yes. The CDC now recommends that everyone -- unvaccinated and full vaccinated people -- wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of high transmission of COVID‑19.

The City of Springfield doesn't have a masking requirement, does that supersede MSU’s policy?

  • No. A City ordinance on masking does not apply to Missouri State University. The university establishes its policy based upon discussions with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department and the specific risks associated with the campus. The university will continue to evaluate the risks on campus to determine when the mandate is no longer required.

Are masks with exhalation ports allowed?

  • No. Individuals are encouraged to follow the CDC and WHO guidance, and masks with exhalation ports do not meet the standards set forth in that guidance.

Are mesh masks allowed?

  • No. Individuals are encouraged to follow the CDC and WHO guidance, and mesh masks do not meet the standards set forth in that guidance.