Indoor Masks Now Required

Created: August 6, 2021  |  Last Updated: August 13, 2021  |  Category:   |  Tagged: ,

We are excited to welcome you back to campus for the fall 2021 semester. We are writing to share important information about campus health and safety protocols due to the current status of the COVID-19 virus and its variants. These plans are based on our commitment to protect our community members and their families, including those who are unable to be vaccinated. They are also reflective of the growing rate of transmission in Washington and surrounding counties and are consistent with other campuses in our region as well as CDC guidance.

As of Monday, August 9:

Indoor mask mandate in all campus buildings

  • Masking is not required outdoors or while in designated dining locations indoors.
  • Private student rooms and private offices are exempt.
  • In exempt areas, people are encouraged to make decisions about masking which protect the safety of themselves and others.

Supporting the safety of unvaccinated individuals

  • We will require regular testing of unvaccinated individuals; we are developing a plan which will be shared prior to the start of the semester.
  • Our high level of compliance with our vaccination requirement, coupled with the masking requirement does not require us to physically distance. As such, occupancy in classrooms, in common areas, at campus events and in the dining areas will not be reduced.
  • We continue to maintain quarantine and isolation space for students who need this provision.

Over the past several weeks, the country and the world has been experiencing spikes in virus transmission, largely due to the Delta variant. Recently we have learned that other variants are becoming stronger and that vaccinated individuals can transmit the virus, despite not showing symptoms or becoming seriously ill. The severity of illness among unvaccinated 18-49 year olds has been substantiated, as well.

We ask each community member to be respectful and observant of our collective responsibility to keep our campus safe. At the start of the academic year, we will ask each member of the community to affirm his/her/their commitment to safety by reviewing the W&J COVID Community Commitment, which underscores the values of our community and how we support one another.

We regret that these measures are necessary at this time; we believe that it is our responsibility to keep our community as safe as possible. It is our hope that if/when we see a sustained downward turn in transmission rates, we will be able to relax our masking provision. Until that time, we appreciate your diligence in protecting yourself and others.

The COVID Response Team