BOR Approves Mask Requirements for Fall Semester

Jul 22, 2020

Credit NPR

The Board of Regents is implementing a policy for mask requirements on campuses this fall. The state’s six public universities will require masks in all public indoor spaces for at least the first month of the semester.

The protocol has four levels. Level one only requires masks in labs or other instructional settings that require close contact; level four requires masks both indoors and outdoors.

The six university presidents offered their support for the approach and agreed to start the semester at level three, which requires masks in all public indoor spaces like classrooms and administrative offices.

SDSU President Barry Dunn supports the move in addition to other mitigation efforts his campus has already taken.

“I believe in my gut, let alone my brain, that this is the most prudent approach to get us to the end of November and get those pharmacists and engineers and teachers--propelling them towards graduation.”

Some regents were hesitant to support a mask requirement. Regent Kevin Schieffer asks President Dunn why encouraging masks isn’t enough.

“That really goes to the heart of my question about why you could not achieve most of this by asking and leading as opposed to ordering,” says Shieffer.

“Because the evidence across America—with all due respect, Regent Schieffer—is that young people have not responded to doing it for grandma, doing it for an old president," says Dunn.

In the end, the Board unanimously approved the protocol, though it may revisit the specifics of each level at its meeting in August.

Campuses are able to individually move among the different levels depending on local public health situations. BOR Executive Director Brian Maher has the authority to approve or deny campus requests to move to another level.

The protocol also includes enforcement guidelines for the mandate, starting with an informal correction and ranging up to an official report to the student conduct office.