Jacksonville State University will require face coverings beginning Monday regardless of vaccination status, the school announced Friday.
“This temporary requirement applies to everyone, regardless of vaccination status, and is designed to keep us safely operating in person and on campus as we begin the fall semester,” reads a news release from the university’s COVID-19 information page attributed to President Don Killingsworth.
The release was sent to students, staff and faculty Friday afternoon, mandating masks while inside university buildings. The policy includes contractors and campus visitors. Classes begin Aug. 18, but move-in week begins Monday.
According to Buffy Lockette, university public relations director, several other universities have adopted similar mandates, including Auburn University and the University of Alabama. Both schools also require face coverings regardless of vaccination.
Masks are required:
— In classrooms and classroom buildings, regardless of distancing
— In personal meeting spaces such as with faculty and advisers
— On campus-sanctioned transportation
— Other common indoor spaces
Exceptions are made while alone in offices and private work spaces, while eating or drinking in campus dining facilities and while exercising.
“Given the revised CDC guidance, increases in COVID variant cases in our area, increases in hospitalizations due to Covid-19 and the state reporting several days of double digit deaths from Covid-19, we have come to this difficult decision,” the release states.
The policy will be reevaluated on Sept. 1 unless “a marked improvement” in conditions allows school safety leaders to drop the mandate early.
The move comes as some local K-12 schools also reconsider their social distancing policies.
Jacksonville’s school board on Thursday approved a mask mandate through Sept. 3.
Anniston City Schools has a mask mandate.
In Calhoun County schools, masks will be required on buses but are only “recommended” in classrooms.
Sacred Heart Catholic School in Anniston will require masks, principal Mark Proper said in a Friday email.