The following message was sent to the Randolph community by President Bradley W. Bateman on August 2.
Dear Randolph community members,
When we lifted our indoor mask requirements several months ago, we were hopeful that it was a sign that our area—and the country—was returning to a sense of normalcy. Unfortunately, as has seemed to be the case throughout this pandemic, the situation has once again changed.
As we begin to welcome our first students onto campus for the fall semester, the rate of transmission of the COVID-19 virus in our area is drastically increasing, and we are considered a high-risk location by the CDC. The highly contagious nature of the Delta variant of the virus is also troublesome, especially in close, residential areas like colleges and universities.
Above all else, we want to protect the health and safety of all of our community members—and we want to be able to continue an in-person learning environment. Given the current conditions and guidance from the CDC, we have made the decision to once again return to our policies** requiring face coverings indoors, regardless of your vaccination status, beginning Tuesday, August 3, 2021. We hope this is temporary measure that we will be able to lift in the near future.
I realize the timing of this announcement comes as students are beginning to arrive on campus. I also realize that it is a decision that will be disappointing to many. However, it is a decision that we feel we is necessary, especially given that immunization rates in the district, which includes the surrounding localities, remain very low (about 38.5% fully vaccinated). The City of Lynchburg has a vaccination rate of 35.7%, making it one of the least vaccinated cities in Virginia.
It will take all of us working together to keep our community safe and healthy—not to mention ensuring that our students, faculty, and staff are able to have the in-person experiences that make a Randolph education so special. It is my hope that this face covering requirement will be short-lived and that we will once again begin making more progress toward overcoming this pandemic. All of us look forward to welcoming our students, faculty, and staff back to campus in the coming days
**Students will be required to wear a mask in all public and communal spaces, including but not limited to classrooms, hallways, bathrooms, laundry rooms, lounges, kitchens, etc. Students do not need to wear a mask in their room.
**Staff and faculty must wear a face covering or a face shield unless they are alone in an office or outside and more than six feet apart from others.
For more information and updates visit www.randolphcollege.edu/covid19Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19