The University of Missouri may require students to notify the institution of if they test positive for COVID-19, an MU official said Wednesday during a virtual town hall with students and families about the reopening of campus.
"We are exploring requiring the student to notify us" of a positive COVID-19 test, said Scott Henderson, MU assistant director of student health.
Contacted after the meeting, MU spokesman Christian Basi said the idea is being discussed, but no decisions have been made.
It would provide the university with information that may be useful to instructors and students in classes, he said.
The statement comes a day after another university official said in a virtual town hall for faculty and staff that a classroom instructor might not necessarily know if a student tests positive because it’s medically protected information.
Contact tracers would inform those at the university who have had close, sustained contact with someone who has tested positive, Henderson said.
At one point, there were 935 people in Wednesday’s Zoom session, which was streamed live on YouTube about the return to campus in what is being called "Show Me Renewal."
The university suspended in-person classes on March 11 and closed the campus.
With two testing locations available now, another testing location for students is in the planning stage, Henderson said.
"We’re exploring options for a walk-up testing location on campus," he said.
Addressing a parent question about returning to campus when cases are spiking and criteria for shutting down again, University of Missouri System president and interim MU chancellor Mun Choi said 10 positive cases wouldn’t result in a closure.
"About a week ago, we had about a dozen cases at the campus," Choi said. "Those have fully recovered."
The level of disease spread, the ability to treat the cases and other metrics would be used in making the determination to close, he said. Requirements of face coverings and social distancing will help.
"We recognize that there are going to be risks," Choi said.
At a recent meeting of the Regional Economic Development Inc. board of directors, Choi said that future campus closures wouldn’t be knee-jerk reactions, but would take many factors into consideration.
As for enforcement of the face covering requirement, Choi said there would be supplies available on campus. Some students may receive medical exceptions from using the masks. Students can remind their fellow students of the requirement or offer a disposable one if they have one.
"We’re also going to enforce," Choi said. "There will be an investigation. Due process is important. But it could lead to suspension."
Tiger Stadium may operate at 50 percent of capacity or lower for football games, said MU Athletic Director Jim Sterk. Some tailgating will be allowed, but it would be limited, though details are still being determined.
"We’re planning all fall sports," he said.
There will be no buffets for student meals, said Chief Operating Officer Gary Ward. There will be takeout options for student meals and spaced tables for students who want to eat in.
Classes for the fall semester start Aug. 24.
"Welcome Week will happen," said Bill Stackman, vice provost and vice chancellor for student affairs. "It will be very different, but it will happen."