Preventative Measures

Reduce risk of transmitting 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, classrooms, restrooms, department suites 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 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 actively eating in a dining hall (including, but not limited to, the Plaster Student Union food court, 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, including at Foster Recreation Center, Hammons Student Center, Plaster Stadium, or McDonald Hall;
  • 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).

In addition, food and drink are not permitted in classrooms to prevent masks from being removed.

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 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.

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?


  • 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 Magers Health and Wellness Center by calling 417-836-4000.
      • If you become ill after Magers is closed, call the Mercy Nurse on Call at 417-820-6055 and tell them of your health concerns.
    • Complete the COVID-19 Reporting Form and follow the isolation and quarantine protocols established by the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.
    • If you are an employee, contact your supervisor and follow their instructions (e.g., implement contingency plans for classes, etc.).
    • If you are a student, contact your instructors to make arrangements to keep up with your course work. You can also contact the Student Success InfoLine for resources to help you keep up with your coursework.

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 Resource Center at or 417-836-4192 or 417-836-6792 for TTY.

Faculty and staff should contact the deputy compliance officer at or 417-836-6755.

Additional information

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