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PSU to require masks

Staff Writer
Morning Sun

Starting Monday, June 29, all faculty, staff, students, and visitors at Pittsburg State University will be required to wear a mask while on campus, the university announced Thursday.

Exceptions to the rule will be those who are alone in an office or work space and “well-distanced” from others, students alone in their residence hall rooms, those who are outside and “well-distanced” from others, and those who have a recognized disability and have an accommodation that prevents wearing a mask.

Masks already are required in work spaces on campus where social distancing cannot be maintained. PSU does not have any enforceable authority to require students or anyone else to wear masks when they are not on campus.

“Our goal is not only to open, but to stay open until we dismiss students for fall break and online completion of the semester on November 20,” PSU President Steve Scott said in a press release. “To achieve that goal, we must each take individual responsibility and do the things known to prevent transmission of the virus: social distancing, wearing a mask, washing hands, and staying home when sick.”

The requirement will be in place on campus for the foreseeable future and will be reassessed regularly, according to the release, which also noted that other Kansas universities have implemented similar policies in recent days, including the University of Kansas and Kansas State University.

Masks have been provided to every full-time PSU employee, and departments can request a mask for each part-time employee, according to the release.

“Students should be prepared to supply their own masks,” the release said. “The university is working on getting additional reusable and disposable masks for visitors. A mask enforcement policy is under development and will be announced soon.”

Employees with recognized disabilities that prevent wearing a mask should contact the Office of Institutional Equity. Students in the same situation should contact Student Accommodations.

In addition to masks, the release said, working groups planning for resumption of face-to-face coursework and student life are weighing other measures to ensure the health and safety of the campus community, including socially distanced classrooms, options for living alone in a residence hall room, how large events will be managed, and more.

"Pitt State is committed to the health and safety of not only our campus, but our entire community," said Scott. "Wearing a mask is an important step we can all take to help ourselves and each other."