The CDC issued guidance in late summer recommending indoor masking in its Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated Individuals.

Based on this guidance, we amended our policies to require masking inside classrooms, labs, administrative buildings, etc., while the Northampton County COVID-19 infection rate was substantial or high. According to our medical experts, the much lower vaccination rate in Northampton County could mean the elevated level of transmission will linger for some period of time.

On campus, however, we have seen five straight weeks of no positive cases in students from COVID-19 testing. One of the rationales for requiring vaccination was to permit a more normal experience for the campus. To help rethink parameters so that they reflect our environment, we sought feedback from a variety of groups. We reached the conclusion that we should reframe our masking guidance to be more focused on venues/activities rather than the county transmission rate.

To continue protecting our students and faculty, we expect to maintain masking in class through the end of the fall semester. This is consistent with our peers within the Lehigh Valley and allows the most time for staff and faculty who have vulnerable family members at home or children ages 5-11 to get boosters or the initial series of vaccines.

Masking expectations until further notice

Venue Expectation
Classrooms (including labs and performance spaces) during regularly scheduled class meetings Students and faculty are expected to be masked while classes are in session.
Classrooms scheduled for group meetings or outside class activities Participants are expected to be masked. If space is used by a single occupant, they may be unmasked. If food is served, participants may be unmasked while eating but are expected to be masked when not eating or drinking. Attendance at events should not be made mandatory if food is being served.
Hallways and restrooms of academic and administrative buildings Masking is expected.
Residence halls Masking in public spaces while in groups is encouraged.
Fitness center and gymnasiums Students, faculty, staff, and visitors are expected to be masked with the exception of Division I student-athletes following NCAA protocols for practice/competition and while supervised by coaches.
Performance spaces Students, faculty, staff, and visitors are required to be masked. Performers on stage will follow guidance from venue staff.
Large meeting rooms (Marlo, Wilson Room, Colton Chapel) The audience is expected to be masked. The presenter may be unmasked if they remain more than 8 feet from the first row of seats. For meals in larger venues, masking is not required once guests have been seated and food service begins.
Individual offices Masking is not required. Masks should be worn if requested by anyone entering the office.
Shared office spaces Masking is not required if staff members are separated on 3 sides by barriers. Masks should be worn if requested by anyone entering the space.
Conference and smaller meeting rooms Masking is required unless food is being served. Participants may be unmasked while eating.

Unvaccinated employees, vendors, and guests are required to be masked at all times.

Safer together, stronger together.

Lafayette’s COVID-19 Action Group