Jefferson College officials reintroduced a mask mandate starting today (Aug. 11) for locations on its campus that do not allow social distancing.
The college issued a COVID-19 operations update Tuesday, August 10th, stating, in response to the spread of the Delta variant of the disease and the low rate of COVID vaccinations in Jefferson County, “All students , Staff and visitors regardless of vaccination status. Must wear a mask in classrooms and meeting rooms where a physical distance of at least 6 feet is not possible.
Jefferson College President Dena McCaffrey said she brought back a mask mandate after consulting with the college’s board of trustees.
“I consulted with the board,” said McCaffrey. “They said they would support them and just keep doing whatever it takes to keep college open and students in class.”
The update said individuals are expected to wear their own face covers, but disposable masks are available from self-service stations in most of the college’s building entrances.
Masks should be fabric or disposable and should completely cover the nose and mouth. Face shields, bandanas and single-layer gaiters do not meet the requirement.
The update states that failure to comply will result in disciplinary action, required quarantine and missed class times.
Students in need of accommodation, resources, or other considerations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should contact the college’s Disability Support Services coordinator to discuss options under the college’s face mask accommodation policy.
According to the update, employees who need ADA accommodations should contact the HR specialist.
“We continue to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Jefferson County Health Department and their guidelines that indicate this is the best way to keep our campus open,” said McCaffrey.
She said the Jefferson County’s Health Department color system for reporting the COVID date is one of many factors considered when college officials determine whether a mask mandate or other steps are needed to protect the health of the college community .
“We use about 12 different factors,” said McCaffrey. “The (color rating) is one of the factors. We also look at the number of students and employees with a positive coronavirus test and the numbers in quarantine. Another factor is the numbers for COVID in the region and across the state. “
The fall courses start on August 23rd.