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Change in Mask Policy Effective Jan. 8, 2022

January 6, 2022

As the College starts the spring semester, BTC's Emergency Preparedness Committee (EPC) continues to monitor the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, which medical experts forecast will reach its peak in mid-to-late January. While there is evidence that Omicron causes less severe illness, its transmissibility remains concerning.

On Thursday, Jan. 6, the EPC shared some important safety updates that will help to protect the campus community during the first few weeks of the semester.

BTC campuses will remain open, with the following safety protocols in place. 

Masking

  • All students, staff, faculty, and visitors – regardless of vaccination status – will be required to wear masks in all indoor spaces. This includes hallways and other communal areas. However, eating and drinking will still be permitted in seating areas throughout our campus buildings. 
  • Surgical-like face masks (3-ply filter) are required in all indoor spaces and will be provided at the main entrances of each campus.
    • This means that cloth masks will no longer meet the face-covering requirement.
    • Individuals may combine a cloth mask and a surgical mask to improve fit and increase protection.
    • N95 respirator masks may be worn only if approved by a healthcare provider.
    • Exemptions for the face-covering requirement may be granted for accessibility considerations.

Positive COVID Test

  • The College will follow the new CDC-recommended isolation and quarantine period.
    • Please isolate for 5 days. After 5 days, if you are asymptomatic or your symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), you may return to campus. Once you are back on campus, please follow the protocol of wearing a mask in all indoor spaces as identified above.
  • You are responsible for telling your close contacts. The CDC defines close contact as "someone who was less than 6 feet away from an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period."

Exposure to COVID Positive Person

  • If you are vaccinated and are exposed to someone with COVID and have received your booster shot, you do not need to quarantine but need to continue masking
  • If you are not vaccinated or are more than six months out from your second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) and not yet boosted, you should isolate for 5 days and return to campus if you are asymptomatic.

The College continues to urge all BTC community members to maintain physical distancing.

Please do not come to campus if you aren't feeling well.

These updates and more information about COVID-19 can be found at blackhawk.edu/coronavirus.

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