Messiah returns to requiring masks indoors for all on-campus individuals regardless of vaccination status. With three confirmed positive cases during Welcome Week and over 20 students contact-traced, the mask mandate has been reinstated to help keep numbers from rising.
Starting Tuesday, August 24, on the first day of classes, all students should be wearing a mask when indoors, with a few exceptions.
Students may take off their masks when in residence halls or apartments, when eating or drinking, and when working out indoors.
Messiah had announced in June that masks were no longer required for everyone on-campus, no matter their vaccination status. Since then, the more transmissible Delta variant has been discovered and started to spread across the United States.
Cumberland County, where Messiah’s campus is located, has been a high transmission area since August 9th. The region has experienced a 37 percent increase in COVID-19 cases in the last seven days.
In a mass email from Messiah’s Integration and Response Team, they noted how Messiah’s low number of undergraduate students who have been vaccinated affected the return of the mask mandate. The Engle Center continues to encourage students to come visit and receive the vaccine free of charge.
The Integration and Response Team will look at multiple factors weekly to determine if the mandate should be altered. They are looking for a low number of positive cases and students contact-traced on campus, increased vaccination rates of undergraduate students, a change in CDC mask guidelines, and a decrease of COVID-19 and the Delta variant cases in the county.
If students forgot to bring sufficient masks to campus, they can pick some up at chapel and in residence halls or apartments.
To stay up to date on Messiah’s number of positive cases on campus, visit the online dashboard.