Pellissippi State Community College will require face masks be worn in all indoor spaces effective Monday, August 9.
The college said its emergency management team based the decision on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID data tracker, which shows both Knox and Blount counties to have “high” levels of community transmission, as well as numbers of active COVID-19 cases from the Knox County and Blount County health departments. In Knox County alone, the number of active COVID-19 cases jumped from 198 on July 14 to 1,240 on August 4, a press release said. Case numbers are updated each Wednesday.
Fall classes begin Monday, August 23, and the college will have some masks available on each of its five campuses for those who arrive without one. Face shields are not sufficient, the press release said.
“We know this is frustrating and stressful and that we’re all tired of it,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “There are exciting weeks ahead as we welcome faculty and students back for the fall semester, many for the first time in months. We are going to take the challenges as they come and do the best we can to set a good example for our peers and our students by providing a safe environment for teaching and learning.”
Pellissippi State’s main campus is in Hardin Valley.
Pellissippi State said it will re-evaluate its mask policy at the end of September, using a return to “moderate” community transmission – sustained over 10 days to two weeks – as the metric for deciding when to relax the mask requirement. By waiting until the end of September to re-evaluate, the team will be able to see if Labor Day travel impacts local numbers, the press release said.[Read more…]