Wheaton College To Mandate Masks Indoor For Fully Vaccinated

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/08/06/wheaton-college-to-mandate-masks-indoor-for-fully-vaccinated/

Students at Wheaton College in Norton will have to wear masks indoors even if they are already vaccinated, school officials say.

The mask mandate, which the school announced on Monday, August 2, is scheduled to take effect on Monday, August 9. The school will require masks or face coverings in most indoor settings. That includes classrooms, laboratories, “and other instructional spaces.”

The school says that masks are not necessary in private residence hall rooms, “when the residents of the room are present, or while actively bathing or eating.” It also notes that masks will not be required in private offices when someone is alone in the office. However, if someone else is in the office, then masks will be required — even if the people are socially distanced and fully vaccinated.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends that people wear masks in elementary and secondary schools. The federal agency’s web site says that it “recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.” Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is currently letting schools decide for themselves, citing the state’s high vaccination rate and relatively mild experience with the delta variant of coronavirus so far.

Wheaton College is going the mask route — and not just any masks. Bandanas and neck gaiters do not count, according to the school. And if one were to wear an N95 mask with exhalation valves, that person would have to wear a surgical mask over the N95 mask for it to count.

Wheaton says that it will have some masks on campus, but the school is advising students and faculty to bring their own. 

It’s unclear if the indoor mask mandate will also apply to the school’s athletic programs. 

The school will have a vaccine mandate this fall, as well. However, it won’t take effect as soon as the mask mandate.

The school’s web site states:  “By Tuesday, August 31, all Wheaton College faculty, staff, and volunteers who access campus must be vaccinated and must provide their COVID-19 vaccination documentation by that date, unless they receive a medical or religious exemption.”

The school defines fully vaccinated individuals as those “who have received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines or a single dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine more than 14 days ago.”

Wheaton College is a private liberal arts college in Norton, Massachusetts. About 1,700 students attend the school, according to its web site.

A spokesman for Wheaton College could not be reached for comment on Thursday or Friday this week.


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