JOPLIN, Mo. — One year into the covid pandemic, a local task force is looking to the future and its new normal.
Julie Wengert, MSSU Interim VP Student Affairs, said, “We were very worried at the beginning. We didn’t know what was going to happen day to day.”
But the Missouri Southern Covid Task Force has learned a lot of conducting classes safety in the last year.
“We try to be as data driven as possible. so we take a look at our dashboard and how things are going on campus – we look at the city of Joplin dashboard, the jasper county dashboard, rates of hospitalization. Now we’re starting to look at the vaccination dashboard as well.”
Task Force member Dr. Julie Wengert points out the campus is still wearing masks, social distancing, and combining virtual and in-person instruction. Classes had moved fully online for last November at a times when covid cases were peaking both on and off campus. But those statistics have eased, giving the task force more breathing room between meetings.
“This semester numbers started to decline on campus and within our community 30 and so we are meeting every other week.”
They’re also networking with other universities in the state, comparing statistics and the debate about the full return to campus.
“Some of our peers have already come out with the message of back to normal and we are cautiously optimistic but we’re not quite ready to take that leap yet.”
The Summer semester will continue with hybrid classes, but they are considering all in-person for the fall.