Events and activities in university-owned facilities or facilities rented or leased by the university for an event are required to follow university guidelines.
Some units across campus, such as MU Health Care, School of Medicine and facilities in the College of Veterinary Medicine, may have different requirements that are specific to their units.
Expectations for MU facilities and gatherings outside of Boone County may vary as any measures will be determined based on consultation with local public health officials.
Events and activities off campus that are not organized by a college, department or division (such as those organized by a student organization or group) and are not in spaces owned by the university or rented/leased by the university should follow local public health requirements and recommendations as well as any specific policies prescribed by the venue. Additionally, for such events, the event organizer may determine additional COVID-19 precautions expected of guests.
Masks are not required in outdoor settings but are recommended in some situations. For indoor athletic and social events, masks are not required for vaccinated individuals, but they are recommended when social distancing is not possible. Unvaccinated individuals are required to wear masks indoors or when in areas where social distancing is not possible.
For gatherings where food and drink will be consumed, it is recommended that participants be socially distanced if not wearing their mask unless they are consuming food and drink in a socially stable group, i.e., people who they live or work with on a regular basis.
Exceptions to these masking recommendations, as they relate to events, include:
- When you are eating or drinking and 6 feet away from others or divided by a physical barrier, such as a plexiglass shield.
- When you are with small numbers of people you consistently live or work with daily (known as a stable group) including roommates, officemates, family members or lab coworkers.
Approving an event
The university does not have event size restrictions and currently does not require Incident Command approval for events. However, events should be approved at the unit level in consultation with venue coordinators/managers to ensure all applicable university policies are being followed, which may include but are not limited to risk acknowledgment and accountability requirements, food permit requirements, venue-specific COVID safety requirements and considerations for external constituents.
All events should be adjusted according to current guidelines. Any such revisions to events should be reviewed by unit leaders, and venue space managers should be consulted if changes are desired for already scheduled events to ensure the venue can accommodate the proposed changes.
With regard to COVID safety, the following factors should be taken into consideration when planning an event:
- Event planners cannot ask or require someone to provide evidence of vaccination status.
- Whether fully vaccinated or not, individuals with COVID symptoms should get tested, stay away from others, and not attend events and activities.
- Per the CDC, “fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear a mask or socially distance except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial rules and regulations, including local businesses and workplace guidance.”
- Being fully vaccinated is defined as:
- 2 weeks after the 2nd dose of 2-dose vaccine series (e.g. Moderna or Pfizer)
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine (e.g. Johnson & Johnson)
- Individuals with weakened immune systems or that take medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if fully vaccinated and should consult their health care provider about best COVID safety practices. Such practices may include continuing social distancing and wearing a mask when interacting with those they do not live with or interact with on a regular basis.
- Being fully vaccinated is defined as:
- Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals should practice social distancing and wear a mask to protect themselves when interacting with individuals they do not live with or interact with on a regular basis, and event planners should take into consideration that there is currently a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in the general population. Hence, when choosing a venue, consideration should be given to venue capacity and ability to accommodate those that still want to socially distance.
- Event organizers may employ different safety precautions depending on venue-specific circumstances.
- If the event involves transportation, masks are still required on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation in the U.S. as well as U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Masks are therefore recommended for university events using private transportation where there is a mix of individuals who do not live together, e.g. charter bus or vans.
- Event planners should consider the need to record attendance and, where applicable, groupings of individuals (e.g. those dining at a particular table) to assist case investigators and contact tracers should someone at an event test positive for COVID.
- For large outdoor events where recording attendance is extremely difficult, consider promoting safety precautions with the suggested language below:
For example: Certain behaviors increase your risk of exposure to COVID and should a person that attends an event become infected or exposed, isolation and quarantine may be required but will depend on the individual’s COVID infection history and/or vaccination status.
In addition to the above, the below precautionary measures are encouraged for all.
- Stay home when you are sick. Get tested if you have symptoms, even if you think you only have a cold or new/different allergy symptoms.
- Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds.
- While in large groups or at events, don’t assume everyone around you is vaccinated. If you are not vaccinated, you are required to wear a mask during indoor events. It is also recommended for those who are vaccinated.
Example invitation language
At this time, we are asking all attendees to wear a mask to this event. The University of Missouri continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will post any changes regarding this request between now and this event.
Additionally, all attendees are asked to monitor their symptoms before coming to the University of Missouri campus. Please do not come to campus if you are experiencing symptoms, feel unwell and/or have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
To assist event planners, the CDC provides some useful information on choosing safer activities when fully vaccinated and corresponding level of safety for those who are not vaccinated.
University officials will continue to monitor the situation and make any necessary changes to health and safety policies. Our campus community may need to shift social distancing and face covering requirements in the future if the public health situation dictates. Likewise, restrictions on events and activities may need to be reinstated.
To assist event planners, the Incident Command team is available to answer COVID safety questions.