Mississippi State Department of Health
HOTLINE: 877.978.6453 | Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. M-F
From: Dr. Tracy M. Cook, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management
Date: September 1, 2020
Re: Student Enforcement of COVID-19 Face Covering Policy
Alcorn State University has issued a face covering policy for all University personnel, students, staff, contractors, and visitors who are on campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This policy is in accordance with federal and state workplace safety requirements and the Governors Executive Orders 1512, 1509, and 1507.
Alcorn State University requires all students, staff, faculty and visitors to wear a face covering that covers the mouth and nose while anywhere on ASU property (including the Natchez campus and Vicksburg facility). This includes when inside buildings (classrooms, public restrooms, meeting rooms, libraries, Dining Hall, offices and office spaces where two or more gather and six-foot physical distancing cannot be achieved), outdoors and on ASU transportation. Face coverings are also required outdoors when six-foot physical distancing cannot be achieved.
Growing scientific evidence supports that the wearing of face coverings is one of the most effective strategies in limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) recommend wearing cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and to help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. It is the responsibility of everyone to wear face coverings in order to do their part to minimize risks to themselves, others and the Alcorn community. With that in mind, the university has adopted the following detailed policy on wearing protective face coverings.
Everyone on campus is required to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when indoors. This includes classrooms, public restrooms, open office and common spaces, hallways, meeting rooms, libraries, dining area, bookstore, and other indoor spaces. Face coverings are also required outdoors when six-foot physical distancing cannot be maintained. This includes walking across campus with friends, attending a class or event that might be held outdoors or in a tent, or playing basketball or volleyball on the outdoor courts. Also, everyone should bring at least 5-10 washable masks to campus.
- Face coverings may be cloth or disposable.
- Students may remove face coverings in their own residence hall rooms.
- Students should have a face covering with them whenever they are on campus.
- Students who enter facilities without a face covering will be asked to leave.
- Students may remove face coverings when actively eating or drinking. Please maintain physical distance from others while eating or drinking and mask up as soon as you are finished.
Individuals who are unable to wear cloth face coverings due to a medical or behavioral condition or disability may wear an alternate face covering, such as a shield, and maintain a minimum six-foot physical distance at all times. The Provost may grant a waiver to the COVID-19 Face Mask Policy for students in a specific class, if requested by the faculty member and necessary to meet the curricular requirements of the course (e.g., theater, voice, language instruction, etc.). In those classes, a minimum six-foot physical distance must be maintained at all times, in addition to other protocols that may be established by the university. Students who require accommodations must be registered with Student Health Services.
Removing face coverings is not permitted in classrooms, labs, studios which means that eating or drinking will not be allowed during class. Those needing to eat, drink or take medication during in-person class should take a break to do so outside of the classroom, lab or studio.
Dining halls, outdoor seating, and non-classroom tents are good options for eating meals. Large indoor spaces or large building lobbies where physical distancing is possible can be used for eating or drinking, per the face covering policy. Please maintain physical distance from others eating in the same area, stay six feet away from doorways to protect those entering and exiting, and put your face covering back on after eating. Those walking through a lobby or space where someone is eating should continue to wear their face covering.
Public health is everyone’s responsibility. Alcorn State University is relying on members of our community to adhere to and assist with enforcing these standards of behavior.Members of the community should speak up if they encounter someone violating the face covering policy. For example, using an informal, personal intervention with friends and peers, such as saying, “Mask up” or “No mask, no class” may often be a good reminder. Student Organizations should clearly define how they will enforce the mask policy in their spaces. Individuals who fail to wear face coverings as required may be reported for non-compliance to the Office of Judicial Affairs and result in denial of access to designated areas or participation in programs or activities, and/or discipline in accordance with applicable university student conduct policies:
Minor violations – will ideally be addressed in the moment by an active bystander (e.g., offering a forgetful student a mask) and/or through an educational discussion (e.g., student meeting with residence life or other staff). We will encourage peer engagement and bystander intervention by faculty, staff, and students in training programs and other communications, consistent with our broader social norming campaign.
Serious violations – will be routed to the University Judiciary Committee and also evaluated for immediate interim disciplinary suspension by the Office of Student Affairs; through this administrative process, the Office of Student Affairs can suspend a student from in-person learning/activities (i.e., allow them to continue with remote learning) or all enrollment (no remote learning). The interim suspension includes a no-trespass order from Grounds enforceable through the University Police Department. The definition of what is a “serious” violation will be fact-bound, though we expect it will include repeated violations by the same individual or organization, those that constitute a refusal to comply when warned or encouraged, and large events in plain, intentional disregard of size and distance limitations.
Widespread violations – will be a factor in determining whether and when to close the University to students and in-person classes and to request that students return home.
These processes will be updated/modified as needed to comply with guidance from the Center for Disease Control, Mississippi State Department of Health, and Governor Issued Executive Orders.
- What is COVID-19, Coronavirus?
- How does Coronavirus Spread?
- What are the Symptoms?
- What should I do if I have symptoms?
- How Can You Protect Yourself?
- Have any cases of coronavirus been confirmed in Mississippi?
- Am I required to tell anyone if I test positive for COVID-19?
- Is the University closed?
- Am I required to go home for Spring Break and Extended Spring Break?
- What are resident students to do about returning to campus?
- If you are unable to leave campus, please be aware of the following:
- What is the status of my classes?
- How is the University keeping facilities clean and disinfected?
- What if I have a previously scheduled university event?
- What is Social Distancing?
- I am scheduled to travel for the University, what am I to do?
- What if I am an individual with an Existing/Underlying Health Condition?
- My child’s school is closing, what am I to do?
- What about campus operations?
- What happens when an employee is sick?
- I am feeling anxiety about this situation, are there resources to assist me?