Important COVID-19 Update: PPE & Face Covering Protocol

As a learning community, we can each play a role in enhancing the level of security and personal health on campus, and at the same time, we can all work together to limit the spread of infectious viruses, germs, and other illnesses. Collectively, we can all take small actions in our daily lives that significantly reduce the spread of these illnesses and allow each of us to pursue our goals at Saint Joseph’s College.

One of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of viruses such as COVID-19 is by covering your face, especially when you are inside and in close proximity to others.  Consequently, data on the effectiveness of face masks are clear – when an entire community establishes a culture of wearing face masks indoors and in other settings when social distance can’t be ensured, the risk of transmission from one person to another is significantly lowered.

In advance of a new semester, it’s important to communicate to all College community members, (students, faculty, and staff) the expectations we will have for everyone as they complete their studies, teach their classes, and perform their work, with respect to social distancing, PPE (personal protective equipment) and other forms of face coverings.

Starting Monday, June 22nd, all faculty, staff, and students working in classrooms or other indoor environments will be required to wear an appropriate form of face covering (mask, face shield, or other covering of the nose and mouth). Not only does this expectation increase our own safety and the safety of others, it is also in compliance with State law.

Of note, we anticipate this requirement will be in place for most in-person classes on campus, and as such, all students and faculty in on-campus classrooms will be required to wear appropriate PPE on campus. When students, faculty, or staff can maintain appropriate social distancing on campus, either by being outside, in a private residence hall room, or in private offices, face coverings are still recommended, but not required.

Recognizing that this decision impacts all members of our community, face masks and other PPE will be available to all students, faculty, and staff, at no cost. Information on when, and how, these will be made available will be sent in a separate communication to the specific groups in our community. Although we anticipate a large quantity of PPE will be distributed across campus, all are still welcome to wear their own personal face masks, face shields, and other PPE, as long as they are clean, appropriate, and worn in a way that covers both your nose and mouth.

Covering your face with an appropriate mask does more than protect the wearer. It also protects other people around you, and those close to us. Using appropriate methods to socially distance ourselves when we can, and covering our faces when we can’t, protects our parents, children, spouses, partners, friends, and other family members, especially those in our lives who are particularly at risk. Simply put, distancing ourselves and covering your nose and mouth with a face mask is an extension of our shared College value of compassion.

As we have done since the arrival of COVID-19, the College Pandemic Virus Response Team, the College Leadership Team, and department directors across campus will continue to evaluate relevant information about the pandemic throughout the summer and into the fall semester. Any changes or modifications to these expectations will be communicated directly to all members of the College community.

Thank you all for your commitment to our community’s health and safety.