masks on clothesline

In response to the rise of positive COVID-19 cases in the region and the state, Lock Haven, Mansfield, and Bloomsburg Universities announced updated indoor masking policies for students who return to campus. 

The three area universities are now part of a state system of 14 universities in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education.

Related reading: Bloomsburg, Mansfield and Lock Haven Universities will join together as one campus; Biggest change to State System of Higher Ed in almost four decades

The mandate goes into effect Aug. 14.

Lock Haven University  

The university is instituting the requirement to limit the transmission of the virus within the community and preserve its ability to offer an in-person teaching and learning experience throughout the fall semester. 

The updated campus policy will require all students, employees, and visitors to wear masks indoors. The practice will stand regardless of a person’s vaccination status.  

  • Masks are required in all indoor classrooms and/or instructional spaces and when traveling between classes within common areas of a university building.  
  • Masks covering the nose and mouth are required of all individuals within spaces where 3 feet of social distancing is not possible regardless of vaccination status.  
  • For those who are fully vaccinated, mask wearing is not required in some indoor spaces, such as private offices and when 3 feet of social distancing is possible.  
  • Fully vaccinated means it has been at least 2 weeks after receiving the second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or at least 2 weeks after a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  
  • Faculty or staff wearing a mask during meetings with students in closed indoor spaces may request students to don a mask during office meetings or counseling sessions.  
  • Mask wearing is not required in outdoor spaces throughout campus. All students, faculty, and staff who choose to wear masks outdoors are welcome to do so.  
  • At any time, all faculty, staff, and students are welcome to wear a mask on campus regardless of vaccination status.   

According to university officials, LHU is mandating the indoor masking policy in the best interest of every campus community member’s health, and so the university may conclude the semester as they begin it – in person. The health and safety of the entire campus community remains the university’s highest priority, LHU officials added. 

Mansfield University

Jim Welch, Mansfield University director of environmental health and safety, Mansfield's echoed Lock Haven's intention, hoping to offer in-person learning.  "Working together and following health and safety protocols from the CDC and the PA Department of Health, we can keep both our campus and greater community safe and healthy to complete this semester in-person as planned," he said.

Mansfield University will return to a primarily face-to-face environment for the Fall 2021 semester. While health and wellness protocols will remain in place as described in the Health and Safety Plan, MU's course offerings and residential experience will more closely reflect its traditional on-campus environment.

University officials said they may adjust the Health and Safety Plan and the indoor masking mandate in response to changing conditions on campus and/or in the surrounding community.

  • When eating or drinking, as long as individuals comply with any other posted restrictions.
  • When in one's assigned residence hall room without any guests.
  • When alone in an office, private study area, or other space.
  • When alone in a motor vehicle or utility vehicle used for University business.
  • When operating a vehicle or equipment where the mask may create a safety hazard by obscuring vision or from entanglement.
  • When asked to remove the face mask by a school or law enforcement official to verify identity.
  • When a public safety worker is actively engaged in a public safety role in situations where wearing a face mask would seriously interfere with the performance of their job duties.
  • When a face mask cannot be worn while playing a musical instrument, provided the activity is carried out in accordance with the University Health and Safety Plan.
  • As otherwise approved by the Mansfield University's Environmental Health and Safety Director.
  • When an accommodation is necessary as indicated by a medical or similar subject matter expert and granted by the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities.

Bloomsburg University

Bloomsburg University is also instituting this requirement. 

The updated campus policy requires all vaccinated and unvaccinated students, employees, and visitors to wear masks indoors. According to BU, This requirement applies to:

  • In-person instruction (all indoor classrooms and/or instructional spaces);
  • In-person indoor events;
  • Any community member traveling between classes within common areas of a University building;
  • Any community member in common areas within University-owned on-campus housing; and
  • Any community member using the campus shuttles.

BU's written mandate is similar to Lock Haven and Mansfield. Mask wearing is not required in outdoor spaces throughout campus, but some may choose to mask up on their own. Students living in residence halls will not be required to wear a mask in their living spaces. All community members who are eating in designated food service areas indoors will not be required to wear a mask. Vaccinated employees with individual offices will not be required to wear a mask in their office.

BU is mandating this indoor masking policy in the best interest of every campus community member's health, and so that we may conclude the semester as we begin it: in-person. The health and safety of our entire campus community remains our highest priority.

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