Effective Aug. 5, 2021, the university will temporarily require all individuals to wear masks in indoor public spaces. The policy is consistent with public health guidance from the CDC and MSDH and comes as a direct result of the spike in COVID-19 cases nationwide and locally due to the Delta variant.
- Effective Aug. 5, 2021, the university will require face coverings in indoor public spaces on campus, regardless of vaccination status. This includes public office spaces, classrooms, conference rooms and other academic spaces like laboratories and libraries. Additionally, masks will be required while traversing public spaces in residence halls, dining facilities, the Student Union, Campus Rec, and retail spaces. Masks will be required for extracurricular activities held in indoor on-campus spaces. Face coverings are not required when outdoors.
Students and employees should follow CDC guidelines for how to wear a mask so that masks can be as effective as possible. Read the message from Chancellor Glenn Boyce about this protocol update.
Why did the university put in place a temporary mask requirement?
The highly contagious Delta variant is driving another surge in cases nationally, regionally and in the state, and the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) issued a directive to universities and colleges “that masks be worn universally indoors for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Due to the prevalence of the highly transmissible Delta Variant, masks must be worn in all indoor facilities to mitigate the risk of infection at this time.”
When will the university rescind the temporary mask mandate instituted on Aug. 5? And what protocols will be in place should that happen?
It is expected that the temporary mask mandate for vaccinated people will be lifted once the cases in our area decline thereby relieving the strain on the health care system. Additionally, we will track the ability of our University Health Center to respond, the cases and outbreaks on campus, and the research around vaccine effectiveness. Even after vaccinated people are able to go without masks again, those who are unvaccinated will still need to wear masks to prevent getting infected.
How do faculty address the temporary mask mandate in syllabi?
Faculty are responsible for their syllabi. Here is some optional language that faculty can choose to include in their syllabi: “Students are expected to comply with the university’s protocols when they are in effect. At the start of the Fall 2021 semester, a mask requirement is in place for vaccinated and unvaccinated people. As a result, proper mask wearing is required indoors and in the classroom while this requirement remains in effect. Current protocols can be found at coronavirus.olemiss.edu.”
When the temporary mask mandate is lifted, can faculty continue requiring it in their classroom?
If the mask mandate is lifted, faculty must follow the protocol in effect for the entire campus and may not require students to wear masks.
What is the proper way to wear masks indoors on campus?
Students and employees should follow CDC guidelines for how to wear a mask so that masks can be as effective as possible.
Do I need to wear a mask in a university vehicle?
If you are riding with another person, the driver and all riders must wear a mask the whole time they are inside the vehicle together.