MU will follow the city of Columbia’s mandatory face mask ordinance on campus this fall, a university spokesman confirmed Friday.

The ordinance, which took effect at 5 p.m. Friday, was passed Monday by the City Council. It requires everyone age 10 or older to wear face masks when around people outside their households in both public and private settings, aiming to limit the spread of COVID-19 as cases continue to rise in Boone County.

Masks should be worn whenever maintaining 6 feet of distance from others is not possible, according to the MU Alert website that tracks university actions related to the virus. MU spokesperson Christian Basi confirmed the change Friday.

Exceptions to the ordinance on campus include while alone in a private work space or single-person study room, when a student in is either a single or double residence hall room, and outdoors when maintaining 6 feet or more of physical distance from others, according to the site.

In following the city ordinance, MU’s official mask guidelines will become more strict than originally outlined in the Show Me Renewal Plan for the fall semester, released at the end of June.

Previously, masks were required in classrooms and recommended in open areas within campus buildings.

The city ordinance, as passed by council, does not apply to property of the state or county, including MU. However, UM System President and Interim MU Chancellor Mun Choi said in a letter to campus announcing fall plans that mask policies would adjust according to local guidelines.

MU begins fall semester classes Aug. 24, but will enforce a number of protocols regarding testing, isolation and contact tracing that will significantly impact student life on campus.

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Galen Bacharier is an assistant city editor at the Missourian. He has reported on higher education, state government and breaking news. Reach him at or on Twitter @galenbacharier.

  • Executive editor and Missouri Community Newspaper Management Chair

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