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Eastern to require face coverings on campus this fall

7/14/2020

WILBURTON, OK (July 14, 2020) – Eastern Oklahoma State College will require students, faculty, staff and visitors to wear face coverings on campus this fall as a safeguard against COVID-19. The policy will go into effect immediately.

Eastern President Dr. Janet Wansick said the face coverings are a new addition to the college’s reopening plan for the fall semester.

“We know our students want to come back to a traditional campus environment with in-person classes this fall. After evaluating our learning spaces, we determined it is in everyone’s best interest to use a face covering to ensure the health and safety of our students and employees.” Wansick said. “With COVID-19, we’re all facing a new normal. We feel strongly that social distancing and the use of face coverings will help ensure that Eastern can offer the campus experience students want, while also helping promote a safe, responsible learning environment.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that anyone over the age of two wear a cloth face covering in public to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling to others. According to Eastern’s policy, a face covering is defined as any cloth face covering, such as a facemask, bandana or scarf, that covers the nose and mouth, and ties around the ears or the back of the head. It must be secured under the chin and fit snugly against the sides of the face.

Face coverings will be required indoors when other people are present, including classrooms and other learning environments, as well as common or public areas such as hallways, stairways, lobbies, common areas of residence halls, restrooms, elevators, the Library, Bookstore and Cafeteria. They will also be required outdoors if social distance cannot be maintained.

Students, faculty and staff will not be required to wear face coverings while working or spending time alone in a personal office, while eating or drinking, or while inside a personal, on-campus residence hall room or apartment.

Wansick said failure to comply with the face covering requirements may result in denial of access to classrooms and other designated areas or participation in programs and activities.

“This will take everyone working together to prevent and stop the spread of the virus,” Wansick said. “We all have to take personal responsibility for our own safety, as well as others that are part of the Eastern community.”

A few exceptions will be made for people who could experience negative effects from wearing face coverings, such as people with breathing problems. Students who need reasonable accommodations are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services at 918-465-1810.

Students, faculty, staff and visitors should plan to provide their own face coverings (cloth or disposable masks). Eastern will provide all students, faculty and staff with one disposable mask at the beginning of the semester. Additional disposable masks will be available by request in the Office of Student Services and the Office of Human Resources as needed.

Wansick said the policy will be reevaluated at the end of the fall semester to determine if it will continue for the spring semester.

Eastern will reopen its Wilburton and McAlester campuses for in-person services for current and prospective students on Wednesday, July 15. Students on the McAlester Campus are encouraged to call 918-302-3607 to make an appointment before arrival.

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