Clark lifted its mask mandate for the majority of campus after consulting federal and state guidelines, Clark County COVID-19 statistics and a campus-wide survey. The three-foot social distancing requirement will also be dropped as of April 4, while the daily health screening remains mandatory for those attending any on-campus activities.
Clark’s COVID-19 Response Management Team reviewed 1,847 anonymous responses they received from a college-wide survey to students, faculty and staff that asked for feedback on how the college should proceed with safety protocols in the spring. When asked about the on-going requirements for face coverings,
54% of survey participants agreed that masks should be optional once Gov. Inslee lifted the state-wide mandate, while 22% answered that they should continue to be required. Out of the other responses, 18% of the campus thought that masks should be required at the beginning of spring term and re-evaluated throughout the quarter, while 6% stated that they did not have a strong opinion about the requirement.
“We tried to consider all things, but we are really glad that we could get that survey out so we could also hear feedback from the people we serve,” Michael See, director of security, safety and emergency management, said. “That was important.”
The team utilizes the “COVID-19 by County” website, an online resource by the CDC with safety ratings for counties based on local hospitalizations and new COVID cases, and received guidance from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges in addition to heeding state and federal protocols. The campus-wide change took effect March 19, coming a week after Gov. Inslee dropped the mask requirement statewide.
The vaccine requirement along with current cleaning procedures are continuing throughout the spring. Clark’s health programs with clinical components and childcare center programs still require masks in accordance with current state regulations.
See noted that the college encourages people to wear masks indoors during the first two weeks of spring quarter, as many may be returning from travel during spring break.
“It’s not an all or nothing,” See said. “If people feel that, ‘I need to wear my mask in this minute but not necessarily that o
ne,’ that’s where we are at the moment with going to a mask optional scheme. People should feel comfortable exercising those as they need to.”
You can stay up to date with Clark’s regulations on Clark’s emergency coronavirus webpage.