As Missouri Southern employees return to campus following an extended closure due to the COVID-19 campus, they can breathe easy knowing that their safety is a priority.

Beyond the Physical Plant performing an extended cleaning of campus buildings, the Staff Senate undertook a project to ensure that employees have access to protective masks.

As soon as the idea was pitched, the members of Staff Senate were immediately on board, says Melissa Forsythe, Staff Senate president and administrative coordinator/acquisitions specialist for Spiva Library. Volunteers are on track to create up to 450 masks – complete with elastic earloops – for the campus to utilize.

“They’re mostly cotton fabric, but all of them are homemade cloth masks,” she says. “Our original target was to have between 300 and 350 of them made.”

Kandee Behnke, Liz Ebert, Sharon Fraser, Martha Freeman, Teresa Shufflin and Celeste Tarrant were among the Staff Senate and campus personnel who volunteered to sew masks. Others, says Forsythe, helped provide money and materials to make the project possible.

“I’m so proud of everyone because they stepped up almost immediately,” she says. “They all have such big hearts and everyone can feel a bit safer and have more control over our environment when we come back.”

The masks have been washed and bagged, and are ready to wear, she says. Campus employees can pick them up between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday, May 11, in the Lion’s Den. The remaining masks will be available to pick up outside the Human Resources office in Hearnes Hall.