Spring Term Course Masking Policy

Campus Aerial photo

Excerpted from President Plumb's message on Feb. 6, 2023.

We know that COVID-19 and other highly transmissible illnesses remain a part of everyday life. This past fall, we established a course masking policy that follows Contra Costa Health Services guidance and draws on the Lasallian values of kindness and compassion towards one another. That policy continued into Jan Term, and it remains in effect for the Spring Term. For more information, please reference the link above or read below.

Fall Course Masking Policy Message (updated for Spring 2023):

As the safety and well-being of our community remains our top priority, Saint Mary’s will continue to exercise caution as we navigate through ongoing changes in COVID-19 and Mpox guidance. In the spirit of following our Lasallian values, thank you for continuing to practice kindness and compassion with each other. 

After consultation with Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS), and in an effort to do all we can to protect at-risk individuals in our community, please note the following updates:

  • Masking will be encouraged in all indoor spaces across campus. 
  • Masking will remain required in the Health & Wellness Center. 

In addition, please note the following Fall 2022 Course Masking Policy was developed in partnership with Academic Contingency Planning Working Group and will be implemented for Fall 2022 semester:

  • Faculty may require masking in their individual classes, and, if they do, will communicate the masking requirement clearly to all students, including a statement in the course syllabus. 
  • Syllabus language for classes that strongly recommend wearing masks will state:
    • Masks are strongly recommended in all classroom and indoor settings at Saint Mary's. If a student or faculty member has tested positive for COVID-19 and is returning to class, the individual is required to comply with masking guidance provided by CCHS. 
  • Syllabus language for classes that require wearing masks will state:
    • Per direction of the instructor, masking is required in this class. Masks remain available to all members of the Saint Mary’s community. Students can pick them up in the Student Health Center and Saint Albert Hall Library. If you wish to not enroll in this course due to this requirement, please contact your advisor for guidance. Students who do not comply with this policy may be asked by the instructor to leave the class until they return with a properly worn mask. Continued violation of this course requirement may result in a referral to the Office of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Community Life in order to provide resolution, which may include removal from the course. Students who are not able to mask due to a disability should contact the Office of Student Disability Services (925-631-4358) to discuss options. 
  • Department sponsors may require masking at events they are hosting, and, if they do, will communicate the masking requirement clearly to all participants in attendance. 
  • To reiterate, if a student cannot wear a traditional mask for reasons related to disability, Student Disability Services will work with the student to identify an alternative form of facial covering. 

Additional Key Reminders:

  • This summer, all Saint Mary’s students were informed of vaccination requirements for Fall 2022 term, per the current Contra Costa Health Services definition, against the COVID-19 virus. This includes one booster shot, if eligible. Students must log on to the COVID-19 vaccination portal to upload proof of having received their booster shot.
  • COVID tests and masks remain available to all members of the Saint Mary’s community. Students can pick them up in the Student Health Center and Saint Albert Hall Library while staff and faculty may visit Human Resources.

Mpox Resources:

  • Saint Mary’s is also closely monitoring the global spread of Mpox. Recently, Contra Costa Health Services announced that individuals at higher risk of exposure to Monkeypox can now schedule vaccination appointments through the County. For more information and resources related to Mpox, please visit the Student Health Center website

What makes Saint Mary’s truly a special and unique community is just how much we genuinely care and support each other. Thank you for your continued efforts to keep our Saint Mary’s community healthy this fall by adhering to these guidelines and reminders while demonstrating ongoing kindness and compassion.

Best Regards,

Richard Plumb, PhD