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Troy to require students to wear face masks on campus
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Troy to require students to wear face masks on campus

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Troy University will require students to wear face coverings in the fall while reconfiguring classrooms and planning instruction to allow for social distancing.

“The start of a new fall semester is always an exciting time; however, we know this fall will be unlike any in the history of Troy University, as we grapple with the realities of an ongoing pandemic,” Dr. Lance Tatum, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and chairman of the Coronavirus Task Force, said in a letter to students Wednesday. “The safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff are our highest priorities, and the university’s Coronavirus Task Force has been working for weeks to develop safety protocols for the upcoming semester.

“Today, we are releasing a set of guidelines, titled ‘TROY Strong: Troy University Health and Safety’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, that we hope will allow us to learn and work together on campus safely.”

The work of the task force is ongoing, and the guidelines are subject to change as the situation evolves and more information becomes available.

For example, the guidelines were prepared before this week’s announcement by Gov. Kay Ivey that Alabama will spend a portion of its $1.9 billion federal coronavirus relief package to fund COVID-19 testing for students at public colleges in the state. University leaders are still evaluating how best to administer this at Troy and will soon follow up with more information.

The full “TROY Strong” guidelines are applicable to all university campuses, including Troy-Dothan, and can be viewed at troy.edu/coronavirus.

Some key points are:

» All students, faculty and staff will be required to wear face coverings when social distancing cannot be achieved. The face coverings should be worn in classrooms, labs and communal office spaces; at gatherings; and in any campus setting where social distancing is difficult to maintain. Face coverings will not be required in a student’s own dorm room or suite, alone in an enclosed office or study room, in one’s personal vehicle, or in public outdoor settings where physical distancing can be achieved.

» After the Thanksgiving break, all instruction and final exams will be delivered via Canvas.

» Employees and students with symptoms of or exposure to coronavirus should not report to work or class; instead, they should notify the dean of students or human resources of any exposure or potential exposure.

» The university is reconfiguring classrooms to allow for social distancing. The accommodations include moving to larger classrooms; dividing classes into small groups that attend on different days; and hybrid (classroom and online) instruction.

“The challenges posed by COVID-19 are complex and ever-evolving, and the university has several contingency plans ready to respond to changing conditions,” Tatum said.

For details on the guidelines and a look at contingency plans, the Coronavirus Task Force’s full report is available at troy.edu/coronavirus.

“The challenge of COVID-19 will require us all to work together as a Trojan family. By wearing a face covering, practicing social distancing and good hand hygiene, staying home when sick, and self-reporting exposure to the coronavirus, we can all do our part to stop the spread and ensure a safe, successful return to campus this fall,” Tatum said. “Additional guidelines or changes to the university’s operations will be communicated quickly, and we urge everyone to closely monitor email and social media for the latest updates.”

Troy’s first official day of class is Aug. 10.

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