by Elisha Meyer
Mask mandates will once again make a return to Concordia’s campus on Wednesday after a resurgence of COVID-19 cases both on campus and in the community of Seward.
The announcement was made by Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics Gene Brooks in an email to students Tuesday morning. The fall academic year opened just nine days ago with no mask mandate in place but with plans to reinstate one if needed.
“Concordia’s Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) identified three operational levels to define campus protocols, based on guidance from our local Four Corners Health Department,” Brooks said. “We began the semester in the Green protocol, operating as closely as possible to pre-pandemic levels.”
The current number of positive cases on Concordia’s campus has gone up to 23, with three cases belonging to Concordia employees and the rest to students.
The rise in cases has also increased quarantining, with 4% of students unable to attend classes. This led Concordia to move from its green protocols to yellow.
Brooks said, “Each of us shares a common desire to maintain a safe community for Concordia and the city of Seward. Our goal is to seek a path forward that allows us to enjoy life and learning together as much as possible while also prioritizing the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community.”
Yellow protocols will require everyone indoors to wear a face mask, regardless of vaccination. The only exceptions for not wearing face masks are when students are in their dorm rooms or eating food in the cafeteria. The campus grounds will remain open to visitors unless the situation worsens. Students will also be reminded to continue practicing social distancing whenever possible.
The CIMT has developed plans for increased restrictions should 10% or more of the student population go into quarantine. Those plans can be seen on the Concordia Cares page on the university website, along with a live count of COVID-19 cases inside the Concordia community.