Following pressure from students, faculty, staff and community members, the University System of Georgia will now require masks inside campus buildings.
The rule goes into effect for all 26 USG colleges and universities starting July 15 and applies to all students, faculty, staff, students and visitors.
Masks will not be required in an individual’s own dorm room, suite, enclosed office or enclosed study room. They also won’t be required outdoors where social distancing measures can be met.
Anyone who is not using a face mask when required will be given the option to put one on or leave the area. Those who refuse to put a mask on will be subject to discipline “through the applicable conduct code for faculty, staff or students,” according to USG’s updated guidance.
This decision is a slight change of heart. USG previously said it would “strongly encourage” face masks but did not make them mandatory on campus.
USG’s decision to make masks mandatory came in the wake of numerous petitions.
Nearly 9,000 students, staff, faculty and family members across USG’s 26 institutions signed a Change.org petition asking USG to require those on campus wear masks, among other things.
And more than 850 faculty members at Georgia Tech signed a letter expressing their view that reopening campus without requiring facemasks is dangerous and doesn’t follow science-based evidence.
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Jackson Schroeder is a graduate of Ohio University with a B.A. in Journalism from the E.W. Scripps School. He is originally from Savannah, Georgia. Jackson has covered a wide range of topics, including sustainability, technology, sports, culture, travel, and music. He plays bass and guitar, and enjoys playing and listening to live music in his free time.