Robbyn DeSpain, director of strategic communications, sent out an email concerning updates about COVID-19 operating guidelines.
Since March 2020, students across the globe have had to handle the stress of college through online classes, mask wearing and social distancing in order to keep themselves and others safe.
Since then, three vaccines have been developed, and the world is slowly opening back up to more normal operations.
According to DeSpain, as of May 18, masks and social distance protocols are no longer required in VSU buildings.
Fully vaccinated individuals are allowed to resume classes and campus activities without wearing a face mask or following social distancing guidelines.
Unvaccinated students are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated while continuing to wear their masks and social distance in the meantime.
VSU will not be tracking vaccinations for the greater university community, so students are personally responsible for following guidance previously mentioned.
According to Dr. Robert Smith, provost and vice president of academic affairs, VSU will look like a normal semester in the fall.
“We expect there to be normal capacity in the classes,” Dr. Smith said. “It’s liberating. I think we all have been waiting for this moment.”
According to Dr. Smith, the Student Health Center has vaccinated over 2,700 people on campus alone, not including those who have gotten vaccinated on off-campus sites.
Supplies of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are currently still available for those who wish to be vaccinated on campus.
“We hope that our students, like our faculty and staff, will be responsible citizens and take precautions to keep themselves and those around them healthy,” says Dr. Smith.
Jalen Smith, Student Government Assocation president, said that students are excited about the new changes and that students are ready to have a normal collegiate experience.
“VSU has done a great job on helping students understand that going into this new mask mandate is a personal responsibility,” Smith said. “Our institution has done a very great job with keeping students safe through this pandemic, and students have done a great job of wearing masks, so students are excited that we get to have a real fall semester.”
Rules of self-reporting when someone has tested positive for COVID-19 or know to have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 are still in place.
VSU will begin traditional student life activities, events, and gatherings in fall 2021 under recommended mitigation practices by the Georgia Department of Public Health. VSU will also continue to follow NCAA and Gulf South Conference guidelines for COVID-19 for athletics.
Story written by Torrence Weaver, Editor-In-Chief. Photo courtesy of Sarahi Montero, special to the Spectator.