Less than two weeks after announcing its face mask requirements would likely continue into the fall semester, Salisbury University has released upcoming loosened mask restrictions for vaccinated campus community members and stricter policies for those who remain unvaccinated.
Fully vaccinated individuals will no longer need to use a face covering on campus unless in a classroom setting or in an area determined to be “high risk” for COVID-19 transmission or with a high level of vaccination non-compliance beginning July 12, per a recent Stay Informed email.
While fully vaccinated students, faculty and staff may remove their face masks as soon as mid-July, those who return to campus unvaccinated and without an exemption must continue to observe the full mask mandate indefinitely and will also be barred from SU study-abroad programs, according to the email.
Masks will be required for those individuals inside all SU facilities and on university transportation vehicles, as well as outdoors whenever social distancing is not accommodated.
The continued universal mask mandate is the latest restriction facing students, faculty and staff who do not comply with the University System of Maryland’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement before returning to campus in the fall, following bans on participating in university athletics and living in multiple-occupancy housing.
On-campus individuals who are not fully vaccinated will also need to receive an SU-administered coronavirus test twice per week or risk losing access to campus facilities and the university’s Wi-Fi network.
An individual is considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after receiving the final shot of a two-dose vaccine or the lone shot of a single-dose vaccine.
The email cited SU’s “vaccination levels and low positivity rates on campus” as motivation for the updated mask policies.
Campus community members who are considered high risk for COVID-19 or have underlying health conditions are encouraged to continue wearing face masks, as well as those attending large gatherings, per the email.
Gov. Larry Hogan has already announced an end to Maryland’s state of emergency order for COVID-19 effective July 1, with mask mandates eliminated for both vaccinated and unvaccinated Marylanders in all settings. Private businesses and organizations are still permitted to enforce their own safety precautions.
SU has advised university members to receive at least their first dose of the vaccine by July 6 to comply with the vaccination requirement.
For more information on SU’s COVID-19 prevention protocols or to view the latest university COVID-19 test results, visit https://www.salisbury.edu/coronavirus/testing-info.aspx.
By JAKOB TODD
Featured image courtesy of Salisbury University Public Relations Office.