August 26, 2020
From the President: Updates to face covering policies and other safety efforts
Dear K-State Community:
On Aug.18, Provost Taber, Vice President Lane, and I welcomed you back to our campuses and urged everyone to follow university guidance to help protect our communities. We understand the amount of COVID-19 evolving information and requirements can be confusing, if not overwhelming, at times.
I want to update you on a change to one of our most important safety measures, the wearing of face coverings, and highlight some additional efforts put in place this week to slow the spread of the disease. I also ask for your continued cooperation in our efforts to help preserve the health and safety of our communities.
On our first day of classes last week, the Faculty Senate distributed a quick survey to ask faculty their perceptions of compliance with university face covering and physical distancing requirements. In reviewing the feedback collected in the survey it was clear that a vast majority of students, faculty, staff and vendors were complying with the face coverings policy while indoors. It was also clear there was confusion about when to wear a face covering while outdoors, particularly when walking in groups or passing in close proximity to others. We have revised the face coverings policy to offer greater clarity.
Everyone (faculty, staff, students, contractors, vendors, and visitors) must wear face coverings over their mouths and noses in all indoor and outdoor spaces while you are on university property unless you are alone in your own private office or workspace or are alone outdoors.
In addition to requiring face coverings indoors and outdoors any time two or more people are together on our campuses (with limited exceptions), we have clarified guidance on what are acceptable face coverings and the use of face shields on our campuses. The revised policy and additional FAQ to address expectations are available on the COVID-19 Guidance and FAQ Face Coverings page.
The university has also expanded our COVID-19 testing capacity with a plan for enhanced testing for asymptomatic individuals. The first cohort with access to the voluntary surveillance testing is students residing in the residence halls on the Manhattan campus. Additional groups, including some on our Polytechnic campus, will be invited to test over time. Students who participate in this effort help provide the university with valuable information about the virus on campus and mitigate spread. We will continue to update you as we expand our testing capacity in the coming weeks.
We are strengthened when we can access data and feel informed about the status of COVID-19 in our communities. As announced today, a dashboard that shares data collected addressing key indicators that inform university operational status is now available. We encourage you to review the data that will be updated weekly on Wednesdays.
We urge all members of the community to continue to practice prevention behaviors, including wearing a face covering, maintaining 6-feet physical distance from others, and washing your hands often. Our vigilance in this regard helps to slow the spread of the virus and protect ourselves and our communities.
And most importantly, if you believe you are sick or have come into contact with someone suspected of having COVID-19, stay at your local residence and contact Lafene Health Center or another health care provider. Once you have medical guidance about your care, please let the university know of your situation. Employees must inform their supervisor and students must let the Office of Student Life or student life contact on their campus know. Any information about positive cases or close contacts helps with the coordinated effort to support our workplaces, living communities and learning spaces.
I appreciate everyone’s hard work to get to this point after just a week of classes. I’m really proud of those of you who are protecting yourself and others by simply wearing your mask, socially distancing and using good hand hygiene. K-State can set the example to everyone who wants to do it right, one more reason we all take great pride in our university family.
Richard B. Myers