(MARYVILLE, Mo.) Northwest Missouri State University reinstated its mask requirement for the start of the new school year.
The university made the announcement on Friday and said regardless of vaccination status, all must wear masks indoors.
In addition to the spread of the delta variant of COVID-19 and Nodaway County's vaccination rate, Northwest leaders also cited recommendations from federal, state, and local health agencies in the decision.
"We decided to change the recommendation for vaccinated people, to a temporary face-covering requirement in order to start the semester on solid ground with agility and viability," said University Police Lt. Amanda Cullin, who is part of the university's crisis management team.
Officials also took into account the number of hospitalizations, hospital capacity, the number of positive cases, quarantine capacity, critical office capacity space, and COVID data from the state and surrounding counties.
"We are looking at the data on a weekly basis, and getting together with faculty, staff, and students to make these decisions," Cullin said. "They are not being made in a silo."
University leaders say they will continue to monitor the data and make adjustments to mitigation policies throughout the semester as needed.
"We are doing the best that we can, with the information we have to give students, as well as faculty and staff, that campus experience that they stated they missed so much," Cullin said.