Face Covering Requirement, Aug. 6, 2021
Last week I shared with you the updated CDC interim public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people in response to increases in COVID-19 cases. The new guidance recommends that both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals wear a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission. Blue Earth County had been staying within the “moderate” community transmission level; however, the CDC COVID Data Tracker now shows Blue Earth County has reached a “substantial” level of community transmission and is trending upward.
Therefore, effective Monday, Aug. 9, all students, employees, visitors, contractors and vendors of Minnesota State Mankato are required to wear a face covering over both the nose and mouth when entering a campus building regardless of vaccination status. This action is being employed under MDH and Minnesota State system guidance and in care for the wellbeing of our campus community. We will continue to monitor trends within the region, but the current face covering requirement will remain in place for at least 14 days.
Face coverings are required in all hallways, classrooms, meeting rooms, public spaces and common areas. Face coverings are not required inside residence hall student rooms, office spaces or in an office setting, cubicle or workstation where physical distancing can be maintained.
I strongly encourage students and employees who have not been vaccinated to do so. Vaccination continues to be the most effective means for reducing community transmission and severe illness from COVID-19. As vaccinated individuals can transmit the virus, the addition of a face covering requirement allows us to progress with our fall plans to provide a more robust and in-person campus experience.
We are hosting several vaccinations clinics on campus open to both students and staff. Additionally, there are vaccination sites across Minnesota, and many are allowing walk-ins without appointments. If you need assistance finding a vaccination location, please contact the Student Health Services COVID Healthcare Hotline at (507) 389-5591.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will update you on changes as necessary. If you have any questions, visit our COVID-19 website (updates reflecting the new protocols coming shortly) or email email@example.com. Students who need assistance with services may contact the Student Affairs Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (507) 389-2121.
Please continue to practice safety measures and do your part to keep our #MavFam safe.
Edward S. Inch, Ph.D.