Virginia Tech issues updated mask requirements for indoor spaces

Virginia Tech
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Virginia Tech will require the proper use of masks by all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, when indoors in designated public areas.

As a part of this mandate, the university has instituted an interim requirement for face coverings in instructional spaces at the start of the fall semester. Both instructors and students, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear face coverings in all classrooms and laboratories when classes begin Aug. 23. Virginia Tech will reevaluate this interim requirement later in September after a thorough review of both campus and regional data related to the overall status of public health.

In the case of instructional settings that differ from customary classroom and laboratory configurations, department heads should contact the Office of Emergency Management to determine if any adjustments to the mask wearing requirement may be appropriate.

In addition, all faculty, staff, students, and visitors at all Virginia Tech owned or leased facilities located in communities with substantial or high community transmission will be required to wear a mask in indoor public spaces starting Aug. 10. These includes all lobbies, foyers, atriums, hallways, and elevators accessible by the general public, as well as auditoriums, arenas, theaters, museums, concert halls, or other areas used for a performance or an exhibit.

This mask requirement does not apply to private work places, such as any office, work area, or employment meeting space that is not open to the public in the normal course of business.

Similarly, wearing of masks is encouraged but not required in on-campus residence halls because of the lower risk of transmission among a largely vaccinated student community. Wearing of masks is required in public settings such as dining facilities, when individuals are not eating or drinking.

Masks are not required in outdoor settings at this time.

“Virginia Tech has achieved a high level of vaccine adoption, and we expect that progress to strengthen in the days ahead,” said Mike Mulhare, assistant vice president for emergency management. “At the same time, it would irresponsible to ignore the latest data, science, and public health guidance about the delta variant and the increasing risk it poses to the community around us. By requiring face coverings in public indoor spaces, we add an additional layer of protection to help us deliver a consistently full and safe experience as we start the fall.”

As of today, 88 percent of all students and 73 percent of all employees have verified they are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Students have until Friday to submit their vaccine information and employees have until Aug. 15 to submit their vaccine information.

Virginia Tech will permit unit supervisors and their teams to determine mask requirements based on unique work-related circumstances. In such cases, team members should discuss specific circumstances under the guidance of their supervisor or unit head. The Division of Human Resources and a college or unit human resources professional may also provide additional assistance.

Students with questions may contact the Dean of Students Office (540-231-3787) for assistance.

Any university faculty, staff, or student located in Blacksburg, Roanoke, or the greater Washington, D.C., metro area who is not fully vaccinated is required to participate in a surveillance testing program that will include mandatory testing at an initial frequency of at least once a week.

Frequently asked questions regarding these new requirements may be found on the Ready website.

 


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