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The News Tribune is offering this article free to all readers because it includes information important to public safety and health in our community.

Mandatory wearing of masks or face coverings, students being asked to bring their own cleaning and disinfecting supplies to campus, weekly room checks and cash not being accepted for dining on campus are part of Lincoln University's plan to reopen for in-person classes this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lincoln released its reopening plan — "The Blue Tiger Comeback Plan" — on July 22, LU spokeswoman Misty Young said.

The Jefferson City university is in its second phase of three for reopening, according to a letter from LU President Jerald Jones Woolfolk included with the plan.

LU had originally planned to begin to reopen campus to the public July 20 but delayed that until July 27.

The university's second phase of reopening began July 27 and runs through Aug. 23, as the campus reopens to the public and students are able to complete university business in person. Masks or face coverings are required during this phase, unless accommodations have been requested and granted, and social distancing of 6 feet or more is required to be maintained.

Once in-person classes resume as scheduled Aug. 24, LU would be in its third phase of reopening, with no definite end date. The same rules on masks or face coverings and social distancing as the second phase would still apply.

Masks or face coverings are required in classrooms, labs, common areas — including restrooms — meeting rooms, shared work and other communal spaces. If a person is alone in a work space, they may take off the mask or face covering but must put it back on if another person enters.

"Signage, floor markers, the installation of plexiglass and other tools will be used to reinforce distancing" in all of the previously-listed places.

All the safety measures included in the reopening plan are effective university-wide, including LU's satellite academic spaces, offices, farms and other properties.

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Custodians will focus on disinfecting commonly-touched surfaces such as light switches, door handles, elevator buttons, tables, chairs, bathroom fixtures and railings, but students who will be living on campus are also asked to bring their own cleaning or disinfecting supplies to keep their own spaces clean, and "room checks will be done weekly to monitor for cleanliness."

Students coming to campus are asked to limit contact with other people in the two weeks ahead of their arrival. Anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19 "must not attend class" and should contact their local health care provider or residential director — the latter if the student lives on campus.

Students will move onto campus by appointment. More details on a move-in schedule are expected to come from LU's Office of Residential Life.

Masks or face coverings will also be required in the university's dining hall while being served, getting drinks and picking up carryout. Only 100 students will be allowed into the dining hall at a time. Student IDs with a meal plan and credit or debit cards will be accepted as payment, but not cash.

While LU plans to resume in-person classes Aug. 24, the plan notes there is "the understanding that the delivery method could change with short notice due to the COVID-19 conditions on a local, state or national level."

Face shields will be provided to faculty. Faculty must maintain office hours, but they can do so via the internet or phone.

Measures to maintain social distancing in classrooms will include limited enrollment in a course, prohibited seats that have been marked as such, and avoidance of close contact small group work.

Faculty who display symptoms of COVID-19 "must contact their supervisor and must not report to work." The same applies for other university employees.

The same rules about not coming to work when sick also apply to athletics staff and student-athletes — in addition to practice or competition, in their case.

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Staff and student athletes must wear masks or face coverings during treatments in athletic training facilities, and staff — including student staff — will be required to wear gloves during treatments. Staff and athletes will be screened for symptoms before practices and competitions.

Woolfolk added in her letter at the start of the reopening plan that "this is a living document that will likely require revision as we as a university, city, state and nation respond to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic."

The university drew on the guidance "of all these entities" in its decision-making, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NCAA.

LU's full reopening plan and some of the supporting guidance it drew from are available at lincolnu.edu/web/lincoln/health-safety-information.

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