Starting on Wednesday, Aug. 18, all Shippensburg University students, faculty and staff are required to wear masks when indoors, Charles Patterson SU interim president announced yesterday.
A video and written message about the updated masking procedure were uploaded on the ShipNow website.
While on campus individuals will be required to wear masks indoors including classrooms, hallways, restrooms, offices and residence hall common areas, Patterson said in the video.
Masks will be required outdoors in situations where social distancing is not possible and are required on public transportation and university vehicles, the Raider Respect website said.
Guests will still be allowed on campus but must wear masks under the same conditions as listed above, according to the website.
“This is a difficult decision as we were looking for a more normal return to fall and have already taken steps like vaccinations that are needed to combat the effects of COVID 19 and keep our community safe,” Patterson said.
Students on campus do not need to wear masks in individual living spaces and faculty and staff can unmask in private offices, he said.
“The necessary change” requiring masks while indoors was made due to the low vaccination rates in local communities and increases in regional COVID-19 positivity rates, Patterson said. The mask requirement is a precautionary decision, Patterson said.
“There is hope for once again seeing unobscured unmasked smiles on our campus facilities. Once we see vaccination rates go up and positivity rates go down, we have every intention of easing masking requirements on campus just as soon as possible.” He said.
Vaccinations are proven to be effective in limiting the virus's impact and are essential to preserving the Shippensburg University experience, Patterson said.
“So please if you have not been vaccinated, you can help us create a more resilient campus by being vaccinated now.” Patterson said.
Vaccination clinics are available on campus and in the community, according to Patterson. They will be held throughout the semester and masks will be required at all clinics, a press release said. A schedule and more information about vaccine clinics can be found here: https://news.ship.edu/2021/08/03/ship-announces-vaccine-clinic-dates-for-campus-and-local-community/.
“If you have already been vaccinated, thank you for doing your part,” Patterson said, “I wish everyone a healthy and successful start to the fall semester.”
Additional information about the updated masking procedure can be found on the Raider Respect website.