LOGAN COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College is issuing a mandatory mask mandate regardless of vaccination status beginning today, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.
College officials say the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the region factored into the decision according to the college’s COVID-19 Task Force. Officials say all students must wear a mask or facial covering in classrooms, hallways, restrooms and other public areas of the building. Clear face shields are also acceptable.
“Its great seeing everyone on campus we just want to keep everyone safe so that we don’t have to go into lockdown again like we were previously and the students can be back on campus,” said Dr. Pamela Alderman, President of the college.
According to the university, those in an office or work area do not have to wear a mask only if a social distance of at least six feet can be maintained.
“We are asking everyone to self-monitor their current health condition each day before attending class,” University officials say. ” If you have any symptoms, please take the appropriate action and see a health care professional for testing and follow-up treatment.”
Officials say those who have possibly been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms should not come to campus. Individuals are urged to follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines and quarantine if they have been notified through contact tracing that they may have been exposed.
Chief Facilities Management Officer at the college, Joe Linville, says the mandate mimics some student’s future careers. “When our nursing students or surgical tech students do their clinicals or work in hospitals they have to be protected and wear masks. So we want to protect them because we don’t want a super spreader From our college going into one of the hospitals or medical facilities in the hospital.”
Anyone who tests positive for the virus mist receive a negative test result at least seven days after their exposure or must quarantine for 14 days after the time of contact before they return to campus.
For now, students will continue to adapt, like they have been for more than a year now. “I know it seems inconvenient, but I mean whatever keeps us safe. This is my career on the line to come here so I’m willing to do it,” said nursing student Savannah Kirk.
While not required, the college is encouraging all students to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“This is to protect you, your family and others around you,” officials said.
The college says they are working with local health departments to make their campuses as safe as possible and are monitoring the COVID-19 situation. The institution’s COVID-19 Task force will make changes as it sees necessary.