Here’s information to clear up some of the recent confusion about masking:
Who has to wear a mask? Everyone, period. There are currently no exemptions to our indoor masking requirements and we anticipate that the masking requirement will remain in place until two weeks after Northampton County drops below substantial transmission. If a student receives an accommodation through the Office of Accessibility Services, the office will notify their professors in writing. Students should not be presenting handwritten or typed notes directly to faculty, nor have we issued any product to students. Students, attempts to defeat the masking guidance are violations of our community standards, and you should anticipate repercussions.
Where do we mask? Indoors in shared spaces. This means classrooms, labs, libraries, conference rooms, corridors, study lounges, office suites, meeting rooms, and exercise areas to name a few. It is easier to think about where you are OK not to mask—in the dining halls while seated and eating and in your residence hall.
Why do we mask? The number of COVID-19 cases in our county remains exceptionally high, and the delta variant has proven potent in infecting vaccinated individuals. The viral load in vaccinated individuals can be high enough to infect others. The vaccines make it dramatically less likely that you will suffer the worst outcomes of COVID-19 (hospitalization and death), but they do not eliminate the possibility that you will contract COVID-19. You can’t know if those around you are immunocompromised or caring for those who are, and masking is an effective means to limit the spread.
How do we mask? The only way to do it right is to cover both your mouth and your nose. None of this half-masking, slinging it under your chin or pulling it away from your face when you talk. Wear your mask properly, keep your hands off it, and protect yourself and those around you.
Students, please do not make faculty and staff repeatedly ask you to put your mask on or pull it up over your nose. We want to continue to provide you with in-person instruction and programming, but we need to do all we can to thwart the spread of COVID-19. Mask up and be safe.