Why should we wear masks?
Currently, the CDC and DHEC are recommending that everyone, including those who are fully vaccinated, wear their masks when indoors and in public settings in areas with substantial and high transmission. DHEC strongly encourages individuals to protect themselves and others by wearing masks.”
All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear face coverings indoors. This applies to all spaces across campus except for private offices and individual residence hall rooms.
Face coverings are required while moving throughout University Recreation facilities. Users are required to wear face coverings during exercise, however; face coverings may be pulled down or removed while swimming, participating in cardio activities, or while performing (or recovering from) strenuous exercise that causes respiratory distress. Users should strive to remain physically distant from others while mask is removed. Research from the American Council on Exercise has determined most people can exercise safely with a cloth face covering, provided that they do not have a pre-existing lung or cardiovascular issues and are monitoring their body’s reaction to the workout.
Face masks are also required for public transportation (University shuttles) and healthcare facilities (Student Health Services).
NOTE: Students who refuse to wear a face covering indoors may be held accountable via the Code of Student Conduct.
Free disposable face masks are available in Sanitizing Stations located throughout campus facilities.
Request for Accommodation Regarding Face Coverings/Masks
If a student has a disability or medical condition and believes they are experiencing an academic barrier as a result of the University’s mask wearing requirement, they should engage in the Accessibility and Disability Services (ADS) accommodation determination process.
Employees with disabilities or medical conditions seeking a work-related accommodation as a result of the University’s mask wearing requirement should refer to University policy FAST-247 Access and Reasonable Accommodation Policy for Employees and Applicants for Employment.
Noncompliance of wearing face coverings and other required public health practices should be approached through a conversation on community health from an educational perspective. Those involved in a conversation like such should share facts, offer resources, and reaffirm community expectations for all members of Teal Nation.
Noncompliance with face coverings can be addressed through the following do’s and don’ts of a community health conversation:
- Let the individual know that wearing a face covering is an expectation of being on campus.
- Offer to help obtain a face covering. Free disposable face masks are available in Sanitizing Stations located throughout campus facilities.
- Discuss that wearing a face covering is a sign of respect and care for others, while also serving as a physical barrier for respiratory droplets.
- Ignore an individual who declines to wear a face covering.
- Ask the individual if they have a disability or health issue that prohibits them from wearing a face covering.
- Engage in discussions that are political or opinion-based about face coverings.
Students who refuse to wear a face covering may be held accountable via the Code of Student Conduct. If a student declines to wear a face covering as required, the faculty member will refer the student to the Dean of Students Office via the Community Health Concern Report.
If the situation occurs in a classroom or other academic setting, it is considered a classroom management issue. The student will have a chance to comply by putting on a face covering, but if the student refuses, the matter will be referred to the Dean of Students Office.
If the situation occurs in University Housing, it will be handled the same way any other housing violation is addressed. University Housing staff will address the student and educate the student about the face covering requirement. If the violation persists with the same student, an incident report will be completed and the student will follow the typical student conduct process.
If an employee (student employee, faculty, or staff) declines to wear a face covering as required, the supervisor is responsible for addressing it with the employee. Employees should refrain from addressing noncompliance or perceived noncompliance directly with other employees and should instead report issues directly to their supervisors.
Campus visitors and approved vendors who are not abiding by face covering requirements will first be offered a disposable face mask, if possible. If they refuse to comply with face-covering requirements, they will be asked to leave campus.