THURSDAY UPDATES: University of Missouri to require masks in classrooms as coronavirus surges
The University of Missouri said Thursday that it will return to requiring students and employees to wear masks inside classrooms and indoors when social distancing isn't possible.
"Missouri is working to combat a rise in cases primarily caused by the Delta variant, with most of the cases occurring in unvaccinated individuals," MU said in an email to the campus. "While faculty, staff and student cases remain very low at Mizzou, we will take additional precautions."
The requirement will be reviewed Sept. 15.
The new rules require unvaccinated people to wear masks indoors at all times. The masking requirements take effect Monday.
MU is also encouraging workers and students to upload documents showing they've been vaccinated and is giving away incentives to those who are vaccinated. The university will also host several vaccination events. Drawings will start in mid-August with prizes including tuition discounts for students, dinner with head coaches or free parking for a year.
The campus has 21 active student cases and 14 active cases among faculty and staff . Fall classes start Aug. 23.
The move comes as Missouri continues to rank among the top states in the country for most coronavirus cases per capita. That surge is evident in Mid-Missouri, too. In Boone County, new cases have reached levels not seen since the winter.
More than 2,200 COVID-19 cases reported in Missouri
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 2,262 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, bringing the total to 564,201 throughout the pandemic.
The state also reported 720 new probable antigen cases, bringing the total to 108,385.
Data shows four new COVID-19 related deaths were reported Thursday. The total number of deaths now sits at 9,642.
The state's positivity rate is back up to 14.7% after dropping slightly Wednesday.
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