WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Midwestern State University and Vernon College announced Wednesday that face masks will be required for students and staff, starting July 6, 2020.
The decision comes as faculty starts to come back in larger numbers to college campuses, and summer school begins next week.
As the numbers of people on campus continue to grow, university presidents Dr. Suzanne Shipley (MSU Texas) and Dr. Dusty Johnston (Vernon College) knew they had to do something to keep their people safe.
“Everything we read says masks are a great safety measure and everything we do is to keep people safe,” said Dr. Shipley.
At MSU Texas, anyone in a common area must wear a face mask if you cannot socially distant more than ten feet. Click here for the full policy.
For Vernon College, students will be required to wear masks at all times on campus but faculty may remove theirs when lecturing. Click here for the full policy.
It’s a measure Dr. Johnston said he’s not happy to have to put in place but understands the need.
“I personally have been a little resistant, but it’s not about me,” he said, “it’s about 3,000 students and about 500 full-time to part-time employees.”
“Safety is the best measure and face masks are part of that,” added Dr. Shipley.
Students and faculty found not wearing masks will not be immediately punished. They will first be educated on the reasoning behind the face mask requirement. Repeat offenders could be sent to the offices of student conduct. Both presidents said it’ll be a transition for everyone.
“It’ll just take time, and we don’t plan to be punitive at first, just educational,” said Dr. Shipley.
Both agreed this is a small price to pay to ensure Fall 2020 can happen.
“People are still going to get exposed in the county or in the cities or in their friend’s house, but we really want to limit the spread on our campus,” said. Dr. Johnston.
“We are going to continue. We are going to open in fall,” added Dr. Shipley, “that’s really important to us.”