Mandatory Wearing of Masks
More details on Michigan's "Gathering and Face Mask Order"
As you know, Berrien County COVID numbers have been increasing, and with that the number of active COVID-19 cases has risen. The county is now identified in the highest risk category within Michigan guidelines. While as a campus we have done well, at this critical time in our county I want to be clear on one particular point. Wearing a mask in a public place is mandated in Michigan by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). We welcome that mandate and will enforce it. That means that none of us should be walking around in a building or interfacing with colleagues or students in a building without a face covering. The only place a mask is not required is if we are in a closed office space/residence hall room. And even then, if someone enters the room we should be putting on our mask. And please note that wearing a mask means wearing a mask fully over the nose and mouth. This requirement is also true outside where we are not consistently six feet away from those we work with. In addition to the masks, the six-feet distance is also a requirement, except where that is impossible for short periods due to the work we must do or in the classroom setting.
I do know that most of us are following these expectations very well. However, as time passes and we are getting tired, some of us are relaxing the way we are working. Please know that when we have a report we have been speaking directly to those who are not following expectations. That response may escalate if we hear repeated reports. In short, if you do not plan to follow the campus expectations, you should not be accessing the campus. It is vital that all staff and faculty set the example for the students.
Over the next couple of weeks all campus units and departments will be asked to review their COVID-19 operational plans that were submitted in the summer to ensure that they are working and/or to review them as we move toward the end of the face-to-face part of this semester and make plans for next semester. University plans for particularly the period Nov. 30 to Jan. 11 will be shared with you in detail over the next few weeks. In the meantime, please work in your areas to ensure with the appropriate supervisor that unit plans continue to be appropriate, maintain good service for colleagues and students, and keep all those on campus safe.
Thank you for your continued cooperation. Only as we work together and show care for each other will we be able to continue to manage our campus operations during this critical period.