MU Updates Indoor Mask Policy

Dear Members of the Methodist University Community,

As the infection rate from the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus continues to rise significantly and rapidly in our area, Methodist University is now requiring every person on campus (with or without a vaccination) to wear a mask when indoors, effective at 8 a.m. on Aug 4. The only exceptions are when in a room/office by yourself (or with roommate), when eating, or if you have provided the Health Center with documentation of a medical exemption from wearing a mask.

We are taking this precaution because safety is the No. 1 priority for our community, and insufficient numbers of students, faculty, and staff have been vaccinated. This is particularly worrisome because the Delta variant is able to infect even vaccinated individuals. Although they do not typically get seriously ill (more than 97 percent of people hospitalized with the Delta variant have not been vaccinated), they can infect unvaccinated individuals. Until we reach a sufficient level of vaccination on campus, one of the only ways we can protect those who are not vaccinated is to require everyone to wear masks while indoors, in keeping with CDC recommendations.

I have been vaccinated for several months, as have many on our campus, but we will need to see significant growth in the number of Monarchs vaccinated before being able to lift this indoor-mask mandate. Getting vaccinated is the best way to show your commitment to and care for your fellow members of the MU community. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, please think about the potential consequences for yourself and others and consider getting vaccinated right away. And keep in mind that the Delta variant is causing more serious illness, even among younger adults.

Please be proactive. Encourage and support others if they’ve yet to receive the vaccine. Be sure to upload your vaccine verification as soon as possible, so we can evaluate status on campus. Our goal remains to have a full semester of in-person classes, activities, and residential living on campus. We have been strategic and flexible in following CDC, state, and local health department official guidance, and will remain so as we battle this disease together.

While we are not requiring masks outdoors, there are no gathering limitations, and we have not cancelled events, there are two additional new requirements:  

  • All overnight guests must provide either a vaccination card or a physical (not digital) negative result of a PCR COVID-19 test that is no more than 72 hours old to the Housing Office in the Berns Student Center before they may stay on campus.
  • Fully vaccinated students, faculty, and staff must be tested (even if asymptomatic) if exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Again, this is because vaccinated individuals can become infected with the Delta variant and, while remaining safe themselves, can transmit it to unvaccinated individuals.

For a complete list of COVID-19 protocols, always check the Forward Together web site. It contains general guidelines for all of campus, but also orientation and move-in procedures, and links to dininghousingathleticscourses, our Green Screen self-monitoring app, and more.

I ask all unvaccinated Monarchs to give serious consideration to getting vaccinated right away for the good of our community. My hope is that we will quickly see a dramatic rise in vaccinated Monarchs, and subsequently be able to eliminate (instead of add to) restrictions very soon.

Sincerely,

Stanley T. Wearden, Ph.D.
President