Dear Union College Community:
We continue to experience rising numbers of Union community members testing positive for COVID-19. Nearly 100 students, faculty and staff have tested positive in the past week with the large majority being students – the highest level of COVID-19 cases we have experienced this entire academic year.
As a result, we are instituting a targeted masking requirement for the next two weeks. Masks are now required in all classroom and lab settings effective Monday, May 30, through the end of finals. Faculty will have discretion to remove any student from a class or lab who refuses to wear a mask.
It also remains our expectation that all individuals will wear masks in other indoor settings, including in meetings where maintaining ample distance is not possible and in dining halls while waiting for food service. Signs are being posted around campus in spaces where mask usage is expected, but when in doubt wear a mask indoors while around others.
The continued spread of COVID-19 on campus poses a real and growing threat of disruption to important end-of-the-year activities such as finals, year-end celebrations and commencement. Additionally, the increase in student COVID-19 cases is overwhelming our ability to secure off-campus isolation space.
We know that for many, wearing a mask has become tiresome and we had stopped short of reinstating a strictly enforced mask mandate, despite the recent increase in cases. Unfortunately, recent efforts to encourage greater mask usage have not had the desired effect and we feel the need to take further action to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Please note that these measures are simply intended to get us through the end of the academic term and provide the greatest chance for members of our community to remain healthy through finals and enjoy commencement and other end-of-the-year activities. Discussions about health protocols for the fall already have begun and we expect to share our plans by mid-June.
As always, thank you for continuing to work with us to keep all members of the community safe.
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Chief Human Resources Officer
Vice President for Administration and Finance