The University of Richmond extended its indoor mask mandate for community members of all vaccination statuses until Oct. 8, according to a Sept. 8 email sent to students, faculty and staff from David Hale, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Jeffrey Legro, executive vice president and provost and Shannon Sinclair, general counsel.
UR had originally instituted a temporary universal masking policy to remain in effect from Aug. 20 until Sept. 12. The decision to extend the policy comes as a response to the latest COVID-19 data in the Richmond region, where vaccination rates are not nearly as high as UR’s, Cynthia Price, associate vice president of media and public relations, wrote in an email to The Collegian.
As of Sept. 21, 96.2% of students and 92.7% of full-time UR faculty and staff who have reported their vaccination status are fully vaccinated, according to UR’s COVID-19 dashboard.
“Modeling indicates the likelihood of increasing cases in our region through early October, and data has persistently shown that universal masking, coupled with other health interventions, limits the transmission of the COVID-19 virus,” Hale, Legro and Sinclair wrote.
Masks are required for all students, faculty and staff in the Heilman Dining Center except when seated; at any indoor meeting or event where the attendance is 250 or above and depending on the location and circumstances; in health care settings; on public transportation and in off-campus indoor public buildings, according to an Aug. 9 email from Hale, Legro and Sinclair.
One change to the updated campus mask policy noted in the Sept. 8 email is that vaccinated students, staff and faculty are not required to wear masks in closed rooms or isolated areas of campus buildings if they are studying alone when others are not present, Hale, Legro and Sinclair wrote.
Members of the campus community were also encouraged to get vaccinated if they are able, stay home if they feel ill and adapt as needed, according to the email. UR required all students, faculty and staff to receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 8, according to an Aug. 24 email sent by Hale, Legro and Sinclair.
Officials also recognize the possibility of an instance where a faculty or staff member may have to be remote for a short period of time to care for a family member and encourages students, faculty and staff to be flexible and understanding during these circumstances, according to the email.
UR will continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions on- and off-campus and will notify students, faculty and staff of any changes prior to Oct. 8, Hale, Legro and Sinclair wrote.
“We must, of course, remain committed to health and safety measures that will mitigate the risk of COVID-19 in our community even as it appears that we will very likely be living with COVID-19 in some form or another going forward and likely beyond this semester," Hale, Legro and Sinclair wrote.
Contact news co-editor Ryan Hudgins at firstname.lastname@example.org
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