Masks will once again be required indoors on Arapahoe Community College campuses. The change was announced Aug. 11 on Twitter and in a letter from Stephanie Fujii, ACC's newly installed president. …
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Masks will once again be required indoors on Arapahoe Community College campuses.
The change was announced Aug. 11 on Twitter and in a letter from Stephanie Fujii, ACC's newly installed president.
Students, employees, members of the community, visitors and contractors who go to any of the school's three campuses — whether vaccinated or not — will need to be masked, the letter said. The renewed requirement goes into effect Aug. 16, and the fall semester begins Aug. 23.
Fujii had hoped to begin the academic year with the mask-optional policy the school had instituted July 24 before her arrival. However, after considering recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations regarding the continuing spread and infectious nature of the delta variant as well as local and national data on the virus, the school's leadership concluded a “more cautious and proactive approach” was necessary.
“The most disruptive thing that can happen to our students is if we have to go to remote instruction,” Fujii told Colorado Community Media. “We want to avoid that at all costs.”
The CDC, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Tri-County Health now recommend all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask indoors, including teachers, staff, students and visitors. Neither Arapahoe County, Douglas County, Jefferson County nor the state of Colorado has a public health order requiring masks at this time.
ACC joins a growing number of colleges and universities in the state in making masks mandatory.
The higher education institutions on the Auraria Campus began requiring masks indoors Aug. 9. Front Range Community College's mask mandate went into effect Aug. 10. Like ACC, Community College of Aurora and Red Rocks Community College will require masks beginning Aug. 16.
Some caveats to the masking requirement are listed on ACC's website.
In classes at ACC, instructors may remove masks when teaching if they are vaccinated and are comfortable doing so. Similarly, presenters may remove masks while presenting if they are vaccinated and socially distanced. However students and audiences must remain masked in these settings, according to the school's website.
In a private office on campus, individuals may remove their masks if they are alone. Two vaccinated people meeting in a private office on campus may also remove their masks if they both are comfortable doing so. But if three or more meet, masks are required, the website says.
“We're hoping that people will be respectful and kind,” Fujii said. “I do believe this is a community that cares about how each other are feeling and doing.”
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