Mask Wearing on Campus

Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,

It has been an exciting couple of weeks with new students and returning students arriving on campus and the launch of the academic year with Monday’s wonderful Convocation. During this first week of classes with everyone on campus, I want to emphasize our expectations with mask wearing and try to answer questions that people have been asking on this topic. 

Wearing a mask is a critically important strategy that will help keep you and others from contracting COVID-19 and spreading it further within and beyond our campus community. As noted on the COVID-19 Dashboard, since August 23, we completed nearly 3,500 tests with 10 positive student cases and 1 positive employee case. These individuals are all vaccinated with varying levels of symptoms. I share this data with you here to emphasize that even if you are vaccinated you can contract COVID-19 and can spread it to other people, therefore, it is very important that you wear a mask indoors.  

When wearing a mask, it is critical to wear one that fits properly over your nose and mouth and has at least two layers of fabric, and to keep both your nose and mouth covered. 

If you are inside a building, your mask must be on unless the following circumstances apply: 

  • You may remove your mask if you are actively eating or drinking. When you are finished eating or drinking you must place your mask back on.  

    • If possible, eating should be done outside. There are tents across campus with a large tent behind Harris and another smaller tent in Cro Pit. 

    • If eating in an indoor space with another person you are expected to be seated at least six feet apart. 

    • There is no eating permitted in classrooms and we ask you to be respectful about expectations set by departments about not eating in certain areas of campus designated by signage. 

    • Harris and Jane Addams dining halls are closed for indoor eating until at least September 12. 

    • Coffee Grounds and Walk-in Coffee Closet are to-go only.

    • Blue Camel is open for eating/drinking if distanced at least six feet apart.

    • Oasis is open for eating/drinking if distanced at least six feet apart.

    • If in other indoor areas where eating is permitted people must be six feet apart. Please be respectful of people seated around you and ensure proper distancing. 

  • You may remove your mask if you are by yourself in an office, partitioned space, or table in an area without anyone nearby. As soon as anyone enters the space and comes within six feet of you, you must put on a mask. 

  • You may remove your mask if you are in the bathroom actively engaged in tasks that prevent you from having a mask on (showering, brushing your teeth, etc.). If it is a shared bathroom, please try to keep the bathroom occupancy low while not wearing a mask.

  • Students may have their mask off in their rooms/apartments with the people they live with. Masks must be worn when a non-resident of the room/apartment enters the space. 

Masks must be worn in vehicles if students are with peers whom they do not live with and employees must wear masks when in a vehicle with students or colleagues on College business. It is also recommended that windows be left open to provide increased ventilation. 

If you see someone who is not wearing a mask in a circumstance where they need to be, please respectfully remind them to put on their mask. Please also be prepared to be reminded, and respectfully comply with any request to put on your mask if you forget.

The responsibility to remind people to wear masks indoors belongs to us all. 

  • It is not up to Student Life or Campus Safety to monitor this alone.  We must all keep each other accountable to following this expectation. 

  • If a person refuses to wear a mask, you can submit an incident report (via CamelWeb) or you can call Campus Safety and they will address the concern and document the situation. Student Life will then follow up with the person who refuses to wear a mask. 

  • If you do not feel comfortable addressing a person who is not wearing a mask, then please find someone in the area that can assist you in raising the concern with the individual(s) not wearing a mask.

  • For repeated violations of the College’s health and safety protocols, please report the issue by submitting an incident report (via CamelWeb) and the report will be directed to the right place depending on if it is about a student, faculty, or staff member.

There are additional masking requirements  for people who have approved vaccine exemptions and are not fully unvaccinated. Please refer to the student and staff/faculty guidance for details. 

As a community, it will be important for us to work together to establish the expectation and normalize mask wearing indoors. A high vaccination rate, regular testing and mask wearing will, together, enable us to keep our community safe from infection and allow us to do all the things we love to do on our campus.

I encourage faculty and staff to discuss this topic with students in classes and during meetings. I also encourage students to take time with their respective groups (clubs/organizations, teams, housemates, friend groups) to discuss these expectations and make a commitment to each other that they will wear masks properly and consistently.    

Thank you!

Victor Arcelus
Dean of Students