Mask Mandate

August 9, 2021

A Message from the Provost

As many of you are aware, the Delta variant has had an impact on Gaston County over the last few weeks, with a particular increase in the numbers of positive cases and hospitalizations. This has been of concern given our strongest desire to continue full and comprehensive in-person activities on our campus in the coming academic year. In conversation with our Gaston County Health Department partners and given the need to continue exposure contact tracing, which can have a significant impact upon our campus, we have  made the decision below to help mitigate transmission on our campus in the least burdensome way. Moreover, the recent release of guidelines from the NCAA regarding athletics activities also has influenced our mitigating strategies.

Beginning Tuesday, August 10th, and until further notice, all employees, students, and visitors to campus will be required to wear a face mask in congregating public spaces inside buildings, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not. This includes classrooms, meeting rooms, dining spaces (unless eating), locker rooms, and other indoor congregating spaces. lndividuals may remove their mask in a personal office, residence hall, or meeting space while alone or when a physical distance of six feet can be maintained. Masks are required for all individuals in personal spaces and college-owned vehicles (except residence hall rooms) when six feet of separation cannot be maintained, regardless of immunization status.

Classroom seating will generally be at three feet of distance, thus a mask will be required; however, given this masking, contact tracing will NOT be required in classroom settings. Additionally, instructors may remove their mask while teaching/lecturing if six feet of distancing is maintained.

Guidelines from the monastic community concerning Mass will be forthcoming. We know that being together is at the heart of our campus experience. This will allow us to continue to be with one another and to protect the health of our community. As before, we will continue to keep you updated. And a reminder of our 3 W’s! Wash, wear a mask, watch your distance.

Best,

Dr. Travis Feezell
Provost