WMUB Report: the new normal; Mercer and masks

Host: COVID-19 has rearranged the way students are learning many have gone virtual Mercer has opted for in person classes with a math requirement. Hi, I’m Hunter Gause with WMUB. Today we’re talking about why Mercer decided to move forward with in person classes under a mass requirement. I’m joined by Kyle Sears. He is the director of media relations for Mercer University.

Guest: Mercer implemented a mask mandate back in the summer, around July, for the start of summer session two, which is the first instance that we brought students back on campus for classes. Mercer’s mask policy basically states that all students faculty staff, visitors to the University have to wear a mask indoors and campus buildings. One of the advantages of bringing masks to the campus; our medical school here has some of the top infectious disease experts in the southeast and they have been very influential and working with our administration to develop a plan for us to return to campus this fall in full capacity. A key component of that plan is the mask mandate, then social distancing. There’s strong evidence that they are key factors and limiting the spread of coronavirus.

Host: How is the mask mandate working for Mercer so far; and has it been successful?

Guest: So we’ve seen evidence throughout the summer session into the beginning of the fall semester that masks have been successful in restricting the spread of the virus in classrooms and in labs.

Host: Is there a particular mask that works better than any other; or a specific one that Mercer would like students to wear?

Guest: Mercer recently updated its mask policy to provide some more detailed guidelines regarding what types of masks are required or recommended. On campus, three ply cotton masks and disposable surgical masks are two of the most recommended versions but there are more detailed guidelines that you can find on Mercer’s Coronavirus site.

Host: And with this mask mandate does Mercer plan to stay open for the entire semester or are there plans that we’re shutting down anytime soon?

Guest: Mercer is committed to on campus instruction for the remainder of the fall semester. We believe that’s what students come to Mercer for is the in person instruction that they receive from our faculty. So as I’ve said, we’ve seen evidence that masking, social distancing and the other guidelines that we put into place have been effective in curbing the spread of the virus on campus. And so we plan and we hope that we will continue in person instruction throughout the remainder of the semester.

Host: Okay, thank you so much. Well, that’s all I have for you today. I’m Hunter Gause with WMUB. Have a nice day.