Dear students, faculty and staff of Shippensburg University:
The inability of Pennsylvania state universities to require vaccinations, combined with low vaccination rates in our local communities, and a continued increase in the positivity rates in the region precipitates the need to once again mask up to mitigate the potential exposure and spread of the COVID-19 virus. As such, effective Wednesday, August 18, masking will be required in indoor campus spaces regardless of vaccination status. We are hopeful that, once we see vaccination rates increase and positivity rates decrease, we will be able to ease masking requirements on campus. We ask that you help create a more resilient campus by being vaccinated now to ensure a better experience for all in the fall and beyond.
We will begin the semester with masks or face coverings being required while indoors, including all classrooms, hallways, meeting rooms, common areas in residence halls, restrooms, and any indoor events. Diners in our dining services locations are permitted to remove masks when eating. Students living in residence halls will not be required to wear masks in their assigned, individual living spaces. Faculty and staff may unmask in their private offices. All individuals must wear a face mask while using public transportation, including university vehicles.
If you are not vaccinated, you are asked to also wear masks outdoors when proper social distancing is not possible and you are in close proximity to others. The university will continue to offer all classes, athletics, programs, and events using the mask protocol.
This is a difficult and precautionary decision to address the aforementioned trends. We will continue to monitor our campus and our local communities for infection rates, hospitalization rates and vaccination rates and will adjust protocols as necessary to best serve the health and well-being of all in our community. Our goal is to ease masking as soon as feasible.
Again, everyone is strongly encouraged to be vaccinated. Vaccination is proven to be effective at helping to control the impacts of the virus and is a critical step in preserving the Shippensburg University experience for everyone. Together we can prevent the kinds of disruptions to the learning environment we have seen over the past 18 months. Vaccines are safe, effective, and available at no cost to you. They are available on campus through a series of clinics or can be obtained on a “walk-in” basis at pharmacies and other locations. The university is hosting campus vaccination clinics available to everyone.
The health and well-being of all members of the campus community and their families is priority for Shippensburg University. Thank you for your cooperation with these necessary shifts. More information on COVID-19 efforts is available on the #RaiderRespect website.
Charles E. Patterson, PhD