JONESBORO – Following the passage of an authorizing resolution by the ASU System Board of Trustees, Arkansas State University Chancellor Kelly Damphousse established an on-campus mask policy effective immediately.
Arkansas State will require the use of face coverings for indoor events where social distancing is not practical. This includes any classroom space, hallway or entrance where six-foot distancing is not practical, any indoor event where six-foot separation is not possible, any meetings where spacing is not practical, and in confined spaces such as elevators.
“The essential details of this mask mandate are that we will require masks indoors for classroom settings and any other confined spaces. The protocol will remain in place until conditions improve in our county, and as we have done throughout the pandemic, we are prioritizing the safety of our students and employees, followed by our strong desire to not transition to mostly-online instruction,” Damphousse said in an email sent to campus announcing the new policy.
“These indoor mask requirements are subject to change, and with significant improvement in our county and regional vaccination rate, active cases and hospitalization rates, and in consultation with city and county health officers, we will lift the requirement,” Damphousse continued. “Among the data points we will consider is the CDC’s Data Tracker. When the level of community transmission for Craighead County is in the “High” category, the mask mandate will be in effect.”
According to the mask policy, which is linked off the A-State Coronavirus Resources website, masking is recommended but not required at outdoor events. This is important to note for those attending Friday’s Summer Commencement ceremony at Centennial Bank Stadium.
In classrooms and confined spaces, individuals are required to wear a face covering regardless of vaccination status. An exception can be made for instructors who are not required to wear face masks or coverings while lecturing if they are maintaining a safe distance of 12 feet from students. Otherwise, instructors are asked to wear face shields while in close proximity to students.
At this time, face coverings are not required inside individual residence areas. Face coverings are required for staff in situations similar to those of classrooms or meeting rooms, and in-person meetings should be converted to virtual meetings until the masking mandate is lifted (when possible). Employees are not required to wear masks in their individual offices.
In compliance with the ASU System’s resolution, updates or changes to A-State’s policy will be made in consultation with the system president and will adhere to any future applicable changes from the state of Arkansas.