Big Stone Gap — Mountain Empire Community College will issue an indoor mask mandate for all students, staff, and visitors on campus beginning Thursday, August 5, following CDC guidance and a mandate by the Virginia Community College System.
“MECC is committed to the safety of our students, faculty, and staff in making safety-related decisions based on the best guidance of healthcare professionals. With portions of our service region reporting high COVID transmission rates, and with the rise of the virus’s easily transmitted Delta variant, the community college system and MECC have implemented provisions to do what is necessary to protect the populations we serve,” said MECC President Kristen Westover.
To that end, recent CDC guidance calls for: (1) layered prevention strategies at America’s colleges and universities to combat COVID-19, and (2) for fully vaccinated people to wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. As of Wednesday, August 4, the entire MECC service region is currently within the CDC’s substantial or high transmission area.
The indoor mask mandate is for public indoor spaces at all Virginia community colleges. A portion of MECC courses will be offered online during the fall of 2021, with some in-person classes offered in technical and general education areas. Instructors will be permitted to remove masks when instructing students from a safe distance or from behind a plexiglass barrier.
The college will continue to monitor the regional public health trends, as well as state and federal guidelines, regarding the pandemic response.
For more information, please visit www.mecc.edu/coronavirus or contact the MECC Office of Community Relations at 276-523-7480.