Rhode Island College (RIC) will be requiring masks in classrooms for students and faculty when spring semester starts next week, given a slight surge in COVID-19 cases in Providence County, WJAR reported.
Providence County is in the "high" category for community transmission, according to the CDC.
"We believe this adjusted policy achieves the appropriate balance of safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our community while remaining practical and consistent," according to a statement on RIC website. "With the majority of the public vaccinated, effective treatments readily available, and life outside of campus largely returned to pre-pandemic norms, the necessity of more stringent mitigation measures has been significantly reduced. Furthermore, with most students, faculty and staff traveling to and from places without mask mandates on a daily basis, continuing to require masks in all situations on campus will be less effective and more difficult to enforce."
The masking requirement will also apply to faculty offices, labs, and student services staff offices. The mandate can be waived in some cases.
“The health care system in Rhode Island is overwhelmed and it’s not just Rhode Island, it’s all across the country,” said Dr. Philip Chan of the Rhode Island Department of Health.