Masks are once again mandatory while indoors and on public transportation at all Kent State campuses, effective immediately, according to a press release published by the Office of the Provost Tuesday. 

Students, faculty and staff will be required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status, which was previously only a recommendation made on July 28

Masks will not be required when alone in a private office or lab, when eating and drinking at a dining facility on campus and when in on-campus recreational buildings and residence halls. 

Professors are not required to wear face coverings when teaching in-person classes if they are able to distance themselves six feet apart from students, the press release stated. 

The mask mandate comes in response to the heightening of the Delta COVID-19 variant, according to the press release.

“The delta variant, which accounts for more than 80% of new COVID-19 cases, is proving to be a much more highly contagious variant than the original COVID-19 and is disproportionately affecting younger people, with 18- to 49-year-olds now accounting for the largest increase in hospitalizations,” the press release stated. 

Students are encouraged to get vaccinated as a part of the Flashes Safe Eight and to register their vaccination status with the university prior to the start of classes. 

Vaccines are available at no cost to students, faculty and their families at the DeWeese Health Center. Students at regional campuses can register for a vaccine at the DeWeese Health Center or through the Ohio vaccine portal.

Students who register their vaccination status through Med+Proctor are eligible to win prizes such as free tuition, homecoming tickets, Beats headphones and more through Oct. 12, according to the press release. 

​​”The best reason to get a COVID-19 vaccine, though, is to show that Flashes Take Care of Flashes,” stated the press release. “COVID-19 vaccines work. They protect you from serious illness, hospitalization and death.”

Kent State will continue to revise COVID-19 safety protocol to align with recommendations from federal and local health officials, according to the press release.

Students seeking accommodation from wearing masks indoors should contact Student Accessibility Services. Faculty and staff seeking mask accommodations should contact the Office of Compliance, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action

Kelsey Paulus is a reporter. Contact her at kpaulus4@kent.edu

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