ASU Board Approves Policy Requiring Mask Use, Updates Title IX Policy

press release

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas State University System institutions now require everyone on campuses to wear face coverings in all indoor and outdoor settings where physical distancing of six feet or more cannot be maintained as a key preventative measure in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The policy adopted Wednesday by the ASU System Board of Trustees during a special teleconference meeting also requires students and faculty to wear face coverings during all sessions of classroom instruction regardless of physical distancing.

“We are committed to the safety of our employees, students and visitors to campus,” ASU System president Dr. Chuck Welch said. “We think that it’s important for all of our campuses to have clear direction with this policy, and we want to reinforce our support of the strong recommendations of health officials. While we have worked to ensure physical distancing in all of our instructional settings, classroom safety must be a top priority, and we wanted to be very clear on mask expectations.”

Welch said the wearing of face masks has proven to be an effective deterrent to the spread of COVID-19. He also noted that leaders at each ASU System institution have done “outstanding preparation” to welcome faculty and students back to campuses this fall.

“We’re prepared for many scenarios and lots of flexibility,” Welch said.

The Board of Trustees also adopted new federal Title IX regulations for each ASU System institution and related revisions to the ASU System Staff Handbook. Title IX is a comprehensive federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex by institutions of higher education that receive federal funds. On May 6, the U.S. Department of Education released revised regulations governing campus compliance with Title IX, and higher education institutions must implement the new regulations on or before Friday.

Among other changes, the new regulations address ways in which Title IX cases are investigated and adjudicated. They also make changes to Title IX jurisdiction, which will impact the cases that will be investigated for violating Title IX protections.

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