Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff Members,
You may be aware that cases of COVID-19 are again climbing in certain areas, including in and around Delaware County. On campus, we are seeing a significant increase in individuals testing positive. Fortunately, we haven’t seen any cases of severe illness; the majority of those testing positive on campus liken their experience to having a bad cold.
But given the level of transmission that we are experiencing on campus, we are temporarily reinstating our indoor masking requirement, effective immediately. If you do not have a mask, you can find one at the entrances to most campus facilities. That means that all individuals are required to wear masks while inside campus buildings, including while exercising in the Matchbox, with the following exceptions:
- You live in campus housing and are inside your own room.
- Masking is required in common areas within residence halls.
- You are alone inside an office space.
- You are not required to shut your office door.
- You are actively eating and/or drinking at a campus dining location.
- We encourage students to eat outdoors whenever possible.
- You are performing as part of your classwork (e.g., vocal performers, musicians, actors, etc.).
- You are actively participating in a College-sponsored varsity or club athletic program (i.e., you are actively playing/engaging in the activity, as opposed to being on the bench).
In addition, individuals speaking to a group of people indoors (e.g., during a lecture or classroom setting, staff meetings, etc.) may remove their masks, provided that:
- The audience members are masked, per College policy.
- The speaker is up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations, including by having received a booster shot.
- The speaker is able to maintain at least three feet of physical distance from the audience members.
- The speaker puts their mask back on when finished speaking.
We encourage you to use an N95, KN95, KF94, or a high-quality, well-fitting, three-layered disposable surgical mask, worn so the edges fit tightly enough to reduce any openings around the nose and mouth.
Please visit our COVID-19 information site for the latest information on masking requirements.
Our expectation is that this will be a short-term measure to help us navigate the next two weeks as we close out the academic year. As of now, we plan to return to a mask-optional policy on Wednesday, May 18, at which point the majority of students will have left campus for the summer. We will continue to evaluate the situation and make a final determination on whether we can lift the masking requirement as we approach that date.
We recognize that this policy affects members of our community in different ways. For some, it’s an inconvenience to mask as you walk through the hall to your offices. For others, such as staff members in Environmental Services, Dining, Public Safety, and others who, due to the nature of their work, must wear masks for extended periods in sometimes crowded spaces, it may be much more of a burden. Please know that this decision is in keeping with our longstanding commitment to prioritize the health and safety of all of our community members.
Thank you for your patience, understanding, and your continued commitment to helping keep members of the Swarthmore community safe.
Members of the COVID-19 Planning Group