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story.lead_photo.caption Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks during a COVID-19 briefing Thursday, July 16, 2020. Photo by Courtesy of Missouri Governor's Office

Colleges and universities might not test every one of their students for COVID-19 upon returning to their campuses this fall, Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday, but the governor added he expects of a lot of self-checking to be involved.

Parson met privately Thursday in his office at the Capitol with administrators from the University of Missouri, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Missouri S&T and Lincoln University to discuss campus reopening plans.

"Testing and contact tracing is critical," Parson said while taking questions after the meeting. He also once again urged counties to get their federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stability Act funds out to support those priorities in their communities.

In terms of self-checking, Parson suggested students might use apps on their phones to screen themselves for COVID-19 symptoms.

Mun Choi, UM System president and MU chancellor, talked about training for people on how to take their temperature themselves.

Lincoln's reopening plan, released last month, includes for students to monitor their health in the two weeks before returning to campus, and students who display symptoms of COVID-19 are to not attend class and contact their health care provider and residential director — the latter if a student lives on campus.

Symptomatic LU students who live in on-campus housing will be quarantined in Yates Hall.

Students who test positive will have to leave campus, if possible, and those who cannot will be housed in Hoard Hall.

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LU's reopening plan also addresses pandemic safety measures at athletic practices and competitions from the perspective of student-athletes and staff but not fans.

LU President Jerald Jones Woolfolk said the subject of athletics did not come up in Thursday's discussion with Parson.

She credited Parson with a commitment to higher education and workforce development "and particularly to Lincoln University."

"He reminded us today that although we are experiencing this pandemic, we should also be looking at the successes we will have in the future, the successes that we are having now," Woolfolk said.

Parson credited chancellors' and presidents' efforts, and he said another important topic of discussion at the meeting was about what institutions are doing to prepare for the post-COVID-19 era, especially with regards to their roles in getting the economy going again.

State budget withholds for higher education this year have been significant, because of the economic fallout of the pandemic.

The 2021 budget includes $28 million less for Missouri's four-year colleges and universities and more than $18 million less for community colleges.

Parson said when the economy comes back, the state will try to restore budget withholds made from higher education funding.

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