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THE ASSOCIATED PRESS — The University of Missouri System will stop requiring masks at all four campuses starting Saturday, but local mandates in two of those places will mean the face coverings must remain on.

Statewide, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have dropped sharply in recent weeks.

A news release from the University of Missouri System on Thursday said the mask mandate is set to expire Saturday and won't be renewed.

It was put in place in July and extended in September, when the delta variant of the virus was still ravaging Missouri.

St. Louis and Kansas City still require indoor masking. Those rules apply to the Missouri campuses in those cities.