Southeast mask policy

Thoughts the COVID-19 pandemic was approaching an end have been challenged lately, with infection rates rising and schools returning to session reigniting questions concerning when and where to wear face masks.

According to a press release, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College President Vic Adams has announced all employees, students and visitors must wear masks while inside school buildings regardless of vaccination status. All KCTCS College presidents gave their input while making the decision as well as state and local health officials.

“We unanimously agreed that requiring masks indoors is the best way to keep everyone safe as we return to our campuses for the fall semester,” said Dr. Adams.

SKCTC Director of Public Relations and Communications Amy Simpson explained the decision to require masks on campus was made following a lot of discussion.

“This was a conversation between all of the KCTCS presidents, that’s 16 different presidents, and the president of KCTC Dr. Paul Czarapata,” Simpson said. “It was between them considering that the latest recommendations from the CDC and also discussions with the Council on Post-Secondary Education.”

Simpson explained the mask requirement went into effect on Friday and has been instated at all 16 of the systems colleges.

Simpson explained there was a mask mandate in effect at the Middlesboro campus previously that was more restrictive, requiring masks anywhere on campus while the current requirement only applies when inside. Other than the mask requirement, the college will be operating normally.

“Should information change, we have to make new decisions as that happens,” Simpson said. “At this point, we’re going to continue with our in-person classes. We feel like the masking mandate is the best way to keep everyone safe.”

The college does have a limited supply of masks available, however people are encouraged to provide their own as well as continue to practice safe social distancing.

“We all want life to return to normal as soon as possible,” said Adams, “but our first priority is protecting the health and safety of our employees and students, as well as the community at large.”

Simpson said the goal is to keep everyone as safe as possible.

“We want to offer students the best quality in person education we can, but at the same time keep everyone safe,” Simpson said.