By Katie Oglesby, Magazine Editor
On Thursday, July 29, Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students Anne Ehrlich and Executive Director for the Human Resources Office Jen Lucas sent out a campus-wide email announcing that the College would not be changing its current masking policy for the fall 2021 semester. This policy mandates that unvaccinated students and employees wear a mask indoors while vaccinated students and employees may choose to not wear a mask indoors.
This communication came at the heels of a recent recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that vaccinated individuals mask in indoor settings if they are in an area with a high transmission of COVID-19.
However, Ehrlich and Lucas noted that this could change, saying, “As students prepare for Move-In, we ask—regardless of their vaccination status—that they bring a number of masks with them, particularly if the College must change its masking policy at a later date.”
In this communication, Ehrlich and Lucas noted that the campus is expected to have a vaccination rate of “91% or higher” when students arrive. This vaccination rate includes both students and employees, but unlike students, faculty and staff are not required to be vaccinated, according to Executive Director of Communications and Marketing Jamie Yates. Yates also said that 79.2% of employees are vaccinated.
“We remain confident—thanks in large measure to our significant vaccination rate—that our community will experience a far more traditional semester this fall than in the prior 17 months,” Ehrlich and Lucas said.
Ehrlich and Lucas said there would be further communication from the College next week regarding the fall semester and ended the email on this note:
“Please remember that there are many reasons why a student or employee may choose to wear a mask. Simply because an individual is masking, does not mean that he or she is unvaccinated,” they said. “Likewise, simply because an individual is unvaccinated, does not mean that he or she does not support community health … Let’s continue to respect and support one another as fellow Gettysburgians, now and in the semester ahead.”