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Revised BSU Indoor Masking Protocol – A Message from President Clark to Employees

Office of the President
Wednesday 3/2/2022
Subject: Revised BSU Indoor Masking Protocol - A Message from President Clark to Employees

 

Dear faculty, librarians and staff,

As we enter a transition phase in the ongoing pandemic, BSU will be modifying some of its public health protocols following Spring Break:

Effective March 21, 2022, BSU is shifting to a mask optional policy, with some important exceptions, for indoor public spaces. These exceptions will continue until further notice and include:

  • Masks will continue to be required in classrooms, other instructional spaces and in public spaces throughout Maxwell Library. (Masking signs will be posted throughout the campus.)
  • Masks will be required on BSU Transit and the Wellness Center, as required by state law.
  • Faculty and staff have the option of requiring masks in their individual single-occupancy office spaces.
  • Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to mask in all indoor spaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others.
  • The university reserves the right to require mask-wearing at any large, high-density, indoor event at its discretion on a case-by-case basis.

BSU is able to move in this direction as a result of the high vaccination rate on our campus and recent changes in CDC guidance and the latest Massachusetts Department of Public Health mask advisory. These changes to our protocols also were informed by the work of the Health and Academic Continuity committees of the Together Again Task Force.

While we are seeing very positive and hopeful trends, it’s important to remember that COVID-19 is still with us and likely will be for some time. BSU continues to strongly recommend that we wear masks in indoor spaces, although we will leave that to your discretion (except as noted above).

Our current indoor masking requirement will remain in effect through March 20. The week of March 14-18 will be considered a test-in week as we prioritize the safety of our campus community following Spring Break. Resident students will be required to either submit a negative rapid test within 72 hours of moving back to campus or to take a PCR test through the Wellness Center that week. During the test-in week, thousands of rapid tests will be available at the RSU information desk at no cost to commuter students, faculty and staff who wish to test.

BSU also continues to require that all students and employees be fully vaccinated, including receiving a booster shot, and that all exempted students and employees continue to undergo weekly PCR testing.

It's important to remember that all members of our campus community can still avail themselves of the tools we have provided: PCR testing through the Wellness Center; rapid test kits that you can take home with you; and a large supply of CDC-approved masks, including surgical and N95 masks. BSU will also continue to update the COVID-19 dashboard through the end of the spring semester.

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, our public health protocols are subject to revision based on any changes we see in COVID-19 cases and the guidance of public health authorities.

Taking care of ourselves and each other as we transition from the pandemic. As we transition, we know that the pandemic has caused intense stress, anxiety and deepened emotional and mental health challenges for many of us.

As we strive to offer support to our students, we must take care of ourselves first so that we can better take care of those around us. There are a number of resources we can utilize to help ourselves cope with the new pressures of the transition.

Human Resources and Talent Management has a wealth of resources available to employees on its Employee Wellness page  . This page provides information about upcoming professional development and wellness events; resources such as the LinkedIn Learning BSU Wellness Collection and the Mental Health Awareness Collection; and information about our employee assistance program – Mass4You.

You don’t need to be a trained counselor to notice when others, particularly our students, are struggling with stress, sadness or anxiety and to help them in the moment. Taking our online Kognito mental health training  is a great place to start.

With Kognito, you can learn how to best support a student or peer struggling with their mental health. Kognito's online, interactive training is evidence-based and will help build your awareness, knowledge, skills and confidence when talking about mental health issues, preparing you to be a resource for students, friends or peers in need.

As we approach the two-year anniversary of the pandemic, I want to thank each and every member of our courageous university community for all that you and we have accomplished during this historic and challenging time. The BSU spirit of “We’ve Got This” has never waned – no matter the difficulty of the moment – and has inspired all of us to bravely push back against the storm so that we may fulfill our noble mission of educating and supporting the students we are privileged to serve.

With deepest gratitude,

Fred Clark signature
Frederick W. Clark Jr., Esq.
President