Marshall releases new mask guidance for fall 2021

Education

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK)—Marshall University has revised its masking guidelines due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, including the Delta variant in the region.

Effective Wednesday, August 11, masks will be required for everyone in all indoor spaces on university property. This rule is for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Instructors can either wear masks while teaching or stand behind plexiglass barriers in the classroom.

Masks will not be required in private residence hall rooms or personal office spaces.

The following are guidelines from Marshall University for the beginning of the semester. They are subject to change as circumstances develop:

  • Marshall does not require the COVID-19 vaccine; however, it is strongly encouraged. Students enrolled for the fall 2021 semester and employees should submit their current vaccine status in the online Vaccination Registry to help university officials gauge whether or not herd immunity has been reached on campus. The registry offers several possible responses, including an option to not disclose vaccine status.
  • We will be testing all unvaccinated individuals—employees and students—throughout the semester. Our goal is to test every unvaccinated person once a week, as feasible. Vaccinated students and employees are exempt from testing requirements unless requested as part of contact tracing protocols.
  • The university is returning to its regular academic calendar for fall 2021.
  • All students must sign an agreement to comply with public health expectations and all policies and guidelines.
  • Protocols are in place for case management, quarantine/self-isolation and contact tracing of all cases at the university. If you are exposed, you will not required to quarantine if you have been fully vaccinated against the disease and show no symptoms.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of facilities is done in accordance with protocols recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using Environmental Protection Agency-approved products effective against the COVID-19 virus.
  • University-sponsored travel (domestic and international) continues to be restricted for both students and employees. All international travel must be registered in advance using the online International Travel Registration Form.

In addition to the mask requirement, students will also see in person classes this fall, plexiglass in the classrooms, and vaccination stations around campus.

“As a college student, you need to have that face to face interaction with your professors to make sure you get the information and understand it and also just to have that college experience.”

Tracy Smith, Marshall University Environmental Health and Safety Director

A few people in the Marshall community say they appreciate the changes and look forward to being on campus.

Lowell Austin, a staff member for the university says he thinks “…this is a step in the good direction to make sure the cases go down because last year it was such a hard time and a hard summer.”

“I think it’s pretty good. They require masks and stuff and they do a good job sanitizing everything,” says incoming freshman Levi Strieter.

Rising sophomore, Jordan Webb explains “it feels good to be back around people and connect in person.”

Smith says he’s hopeful this plan will help move the community in the direction of returning back to some form of normality.

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