Virginia community colleges implement indoor mask mandate


Sign outside the John Tyler Community College campus in Chesterfield County (Photo: 8News)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia’s community colleges will require students and staff to wear masks while indoors.

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Virginia Community College System Chancellor Glenn DuBois sent a letter informing college presidents on Wednesday that he was implementing an indoor mask mandate to align with recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC is calling for all people, even those fully vaccinated, to wear masks in public indoor spaces if they are in areas with surging case counts. The recommendation is for parts of the country with “substantial or high transmission,” which applies to 85% of all U.S. counties as of Friday, according to CDC data.

Students and staff in Virginia’s community colleges are encouraged to get vaccinated, but VCCS said it will not change its policy to require them.

“Though dynamic, all of Virginia’s Community Colleges serve localities that have, in recent days, shown substantial or high transmission rates,” DuBois wrote to the college presidents. “In keeping with CDC guidance and out of respect for the health and safety of individuals on our campuses, I am implementing an indoor mask mandate for public indoor spaces at our colleges.”

Colleges can implement the mask mandate “in a manner that best matches” their needs, DuBois said. This could include allowing professors to go maskless when teaching from a safe distance or while behind a plexiglass barrier.

There are 23 schools within the Virginia Community College System, including Reynolds Community College and John Tyler Community College.

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