U of L reaches vaccination goal; resists easing restrictions Thursday, Sep 16 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

U of L recently surpassed its 80 percent vaccination rate goal but has decided to keep certain health precautions in place.

Originally, the 80 percent goal was set to serve as a checkpoint for easing restrictions related to COVID-19, including the mask mandate for public, indoor spaces reimplemented on Aug. 9. The university has changed course and decided to keep the mask mandate in place, citing increased transmission numbers in the Jefferson County area and CDC guidance related to the transmissibility of the virus.

“Additionally, our university’s public health experts tell us higher percentages of vaccination rates across campus should be reached for optimal herd immunity,” said Executive Vice President and University Provost (EVPUP) Lori Stewart Gonzalez.

Gonzalez also said the university will closely monitor the situation and will update us when they have deemed it appropriate to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

Pop-up vaccination sites on campus will continue tomorrow, Sept. 17, in the Bingham Humanities lobby from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for students, faculty and staff to continue getting vaccinated. The pop-up sites will take a pause next week but will continue again starting Sept. 27., although individuals can still get vaccinated at the Health Sciences Center (HSC) Campus Health Center during that time. The locations and times of the university’s pop-up sites can be found here.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L implements new masking requirements for fall semester Tuesday, Aug 10 2021 

By Madelin Shelton —

The university announced that effective Monday, Aug. 9, it will require masks in public, indoor spaces for all university members. This change will remain in effect until the U of L community reaches an increased vaccination rate.

“Public, indoor spaces are defined as any space inside a campus building that is not considered a private room or private office,” U of L said.

The decision comes from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recent guidance that areas with high levels of transmission should begin implementing face masks, regardless of whether individuals are vaccinated or not.

“Based on the Kentucky immunization registry, we know that at least 30% of students and 67.7% of faculty and staff are fully vaccinated,” the university said. “Unless the CDC changes its recommendation, we plan to suspend our mask requirement when we reach an 80% vaccination rate in both our student and employee populations.”

In addition to the new masking guidelines, testing is required for unvaccinated university members starting Aug. 17.

The university plans to continue monitoring the evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and will make changes as they deem appropriate, continuing to rely on guidelines from the CDC and other trusted health professionals.

File Graphic//The Louisville Cardinal

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Ekstrom library will no longer require U of L IDs for entrance and will monitor for masks Thursday, Feb 4 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville announced on Jan. 29 that Ekstrom library staff will begin monitoring the library to enforce the mask mandate. This comes after a meeting between U of L’s student government association and Ekstrom library staff to discuss mask enforcement and the requirement to show a student ID in order to enter the library.

“We appreciate that most of the Cardinal Family has followed our public health policies around wearing masks, maintaining physical distance and practicing good personal hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus,” Provost Beth Boehm and Dean of Students Michael Mardis said in their statement.

“However, some people are beginning to ignore these policies.  This has become a significant issue in some of our large public spaces, particularly Ekstrom Library. ”

Patrons of the library who refuse to follow the mask mandate, after being reminded by a staff member, will be asked to leave and could face consequences from the Dean of Students Office.

SGA President Sabrina Collins said that the SGA brought up the need for this policy in a meeting with U of L administrators as well as in an SGA senate meeting that was attended by Ekstrom Library Dean Bob Fox and Associate Dean Bruse Keisling.

“This practice has proven necessary because of the widespread lack of masking in the library despite other efforts to encourage compliance,” Collins said.

SGA also came to an agreement with library staff about issues with the library’s policy to require a student ID for entry.

“The practice of checking cardinal cards at the library was being done in an effort to de-densify the library and ensure that our students were the ones utilizing the space,” Collins said. “Additionally, administration hoped that having a checkpoint at the door would ensure people were reminded to wear their mask if they tried to enter the space without one. In practice, we know that this did not have the intended impact and, in fact, created a hostile environment for students of color.”

SGA announced in a statement on social media on Jan. 22 that this policy would no longer apply, but a security guard will continue to be stationed at the entrance to Ekstrom.

SGA urges students who have any issues or concerns with this situation to reach out to them at sgacares@uoflsga.org.

Photo by Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

 

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