Whether students, faculty and staff at the University of Mississippi have received a vaccine against COVID-19 or not, they will be temporarily required to wear a mask in indoor public spaces on campus, according to an email Chancellor Glenn Boyce sent August 4.
University students and staff alike are required to wear masks while walking through residence halls, dining facilities, the Student Union, Campus Rec and retail spaces. Additionally, masks will be required for extracurricular activities held in indoor on-campus spaces. Masks are not required outdoors.
“This new, temporary protocol is an evidence-based mitigation strategy which will assist us in delivering in-person learning and maintaining a full on-campus experience with the least amount of disruption” Boyce wrote in the email.
This new protocol is a direct result of the spike in COVID-19 cases nationwide and locally due to the Delta variant. Boyce wrote that the temporary mask mandate aligns with the Center for Disease Control and the Mississippi State Department of Health’s directive for college and university settings.
“We’re optimistic that this temporary mask utilization indoors will help ensure a successful start to the school year,” Boyce wrote. “In fact, to have the full in-person experience, this strategy is being embraced by all eight public universities in Mississippi, as well as other SEC universities.”
Boyce wrote that even when they are able to lift the temporary mask mandate, unvaccinated people will still be required to wear a mask indoors, because it is their only protection from the effects of getting the coronavirus.
“We urge everyone to do their part to keep themselves and our community safe: Take advantage of the free and widely available vaccines,” Boyce wrote.
Over 2.2 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered throughout Mississippi, with 1,239,869 people receiving one dose and 1,043,017 being fully vaccinated as of August 4.
In Lafayette County, 47,680 doses of the vaccine have been administered; 25,494 people have received one dose, while 23,230 are fully vaccinated.