New Masking Guidelines for Andrews University
August 11, 2021
Dear Andrews University family,
We’ve all been following the spread and impact of the highly infectious Delta variant, which is now responsible for more than 90 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the United States. A significant percent of individuals with serious COVID-19 infections leading to hospitalizations, regardless of the strain or variant of COVID-19 causing the infections, are unvaccinated.
To track the impact and risks emerging from the increases in COVID-19 infections, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has established a system that monitors the level of COVID-19 spread in each county in the United States. Our county had remained at a “moderate” level of transmission until earlier this week. However, this Tuesday, Berrien County moved to a “high” level of transmission.
With this “high” level of transmission, the CDC and our local Berrien County Health Department recommend the use of masks indoors for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status.
As a result, effective Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, and currently through Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, all students, employees and visitors to campus will be required to wear masks in the public spaces inside Andrews University campus buildings regardless of vaccination status.
We will continue to review campus and Berrien County transmission rates, and ongoing or additional guidelines will be announced as needed.
- Residence Hall Students: Masks may be removed inside your own room when only you and roommates are present, but you should plan to wear masks in indoor public spaces in the residence halls.
- Classrooms: Masks should be worn in all classroom settings. Faculty may opt for a face shield or other face coverings when they are teaching.
- Meals in Terrace Café, Gazebo: Masks may be removed while you are eating and drinking but should be worn at all other times in indoor public dining areas.
- On-Campus Work: Masks should be worn at all times when inside and may be removed only if you are working alone or are able to physically distance consistently.
- In Vehicles: If you’re traveling with others that are not part of your immediate home or University housing in public or private vehicles, masks should be worn.
Note that these additional guidelines on masking do not impact any other COVID-19 policies or plans already announced regarding in-person classes, return to work on campus, events, physical spacing, etc. Existing guidelines for those who are vaccinated, unvaccinated or meet the Andrews “acquired immunity” status through previous COVID-19 infections and isolation, can be found here.
As of this week, more than 70 percent of our full-time employees now have protection against serious COVID-19 infections and illness through full or partial vaccinations or have met the Andrews “acquired immunity” status (see above).
As the new school year begins, we’ll also continue daily monitoring of self-screening reports from students who have potential COVID-19 exposure or COVID-19 symptoms and will intervene and provide support as needed. Our overall vaccination rates will also continue to be a critical indicator of likely campus safety and will help us minimize campus restrictions in the future.
Returning to a mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status, is not a step that many of us wished to take. However, we believe it remains significantly important for each one of us as individuals, and for us as a University family, to protect the health of one another here on our campus and throughout our community.