January 18, 2022
Welcome to the Spring 2022 Semester.
I am optimistic this semester will see many positive things transpire for the University and our students, faculty, and staff. As you know from prior communications, as we begin the semester there is currently a significant surge in COVID-19 cases stemming from the highly contagious Omicron variant. Fortunately, public health models suggest that the surge, while intense, will be short-lived.
As previously shared, for the time being we will continue the indoor mask requirement that was in place last semester. I urge everyone to strictly comply with this requirement as a meaningful step we all can easily take to help safeguard each other.
Recently, the CDC updated its guidance regarding masks, reiterating that masking is an important public health tool and that any mask worn correctly and consistently is beneficial in helping prevent spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. The updated guidance also includes clarification regarding different types of masks and the relative protection afforded.
Specifically, the masks which offer the most protection are well-fitting N95, KN95 or equivalent masks also knows as respirators. Earlier in the pandemic the public was discouraged from using these masks due to concerns about maintaining an adequate supply for healthcare settings where their use is essential. These concerns appear to have abated.
Disposable procedure masks which are commonly referred to as surgical masks afford the next highest level of protection. This is the type of mask that has been and will continue to be widely available in most campus buildings.
Cloth masks afford the lowest level of protection. In fact, the guidance recommends cloth masks that fit poorly or consist of only a single layer not be used. Cloth masks can provide better protection if worn over a disposable surgical mask. The CDC provides the following graphic depicting differences in masks.
A full size graphic of the above image can be found here.
In any event, please be reminded that we will all be expected to wear face masks indoors in compliance with our campus Face Mask Policy. Compliance with all University policies is mandatory for faculty and staff. Violations may be reported to the appropriate supervisor or Human Resources. Likewise, our Code of Student Conduct requires students to comply with all relevant University policies. Violations may be reported at http://southeastern.edu/reportit.
I hope everyone has a safe, successful, and enjoyable semester.
John L. Crain