Dixie State University to Require Masks Through End of Semester
- By Matt Jones
- March 29, 2021
Last week, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill set to take effect on April 10 that revokes the statewide mask mandate. On the campus of Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, however, wearing masks will still be required through the end of the Spring 2021 semester.
“Class conduct and instruction will stay the same through the end of the semester,” said University President Richard “Biff” Williams. He said that the health of faculty and students remains his top priority and that members of his cabinet are working with the university’s COVID-19 Task Force to figure out a course of action.
According to the Dixie Sun News, masks will not be required outdoors or when students can properly socially distance, but they may be required during outdoor student events.
The university’s executive director of events services and risk management, Josh Thayn, explains that masks have had a “high success rate” of preventing COVID-19’s spread so far. Given the relatively short amount of time between the lifting of the mandate and the end of the semester, he sees the easiest course of action to be keeping the policy in place. He also notes that the Utah System of Higher Education and K-12 public schools are also maintaining the current procedure.
“Continuing the current mask policy and other mitigating measures will allow for more individuals to receive their vaccines and will help keep our campus community safe, and moving in the right direction, to help us return to normal more quickly,” he said.
Students who decline to wear masks can opt for remote learning opportunities through live-streamed classes. Students not wearing masks on campus can be asked to leave class, denied entry into on-campus buildings, and even escorted off campus.
Dixie State University is currently exploring the possibility of opening to full capacity—without masks or social distancing requirements—in time for the Fall 2021 semester.