Beginning Aug. 16 all students, faculty, staff and visitors must wear masks in indoor campus spaces. The decision was made out of “an abundance of caution” due to the number of community members traveling to campus at the beginning of the semester and the increased virus transmission in Alamance and Guilford counties due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus, according to the university.
An Elon University spokesperson declined to comment further than what was included in the email sent to the Elon community from Vice President for Student Life Jon Dooley.
The requirement runs from the beginning of the university’s Planning Week, Aug. 16, through the first 10 days of the semester, ending on Aug. 29. Those who have not submitted their COVID-19 vaccine documentation must continue to wear a mask indoors throughout the semester. Masks will not be required for anyone outdoors.
Exemptions to the mask policy include being alone in a private office, in a residence hall or apartment room or while eating or drinking. Elon Dining employees will also continue to wear masks at all times indoors, in accordance with the current Harvest Table company policies.
Director of New Student Programs Emily Krechel said the policy change does not affect any current plans for move-in weekend beyond messaging a reminder about the change to those coming to campus. Those attending New Student Convocation on Aug. 21 must wear a mask, even though it is held outdoors Under the Oaks.
As of Aug. 11, 94% of undergraduate students are vaccinated. Faculty and staff are not required to be vaccinated, but the university reports that “nearly 85%” of full-time faculty and staff have submitted their vaccine documentation.
The university’s current mask policy states everyone on campus, regardless of vaccination status, should carry a mask with them at all times and are encouraged to wear a mask with them any time they feel ill, are in crowded spaces and if they feel masks are needed for extra protection. Additionally, Guilford County Commissioners voted 7-2 to reinstate a mandatory mask mandate for all persons when indoors throughout the county, regardless of vaccination status, starting Friday Aug. 13 at 5 p.m.
Information about start dates for temporary mask requirements for the Elon Law campus and the Elon Center will be shared in the days ahead.
Masks are still not required outdoors and policies will be adjusted as needed throughout the semester.