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Wednesday afternoon, Texas Tech University President Lawrence Schovanec announced a new university-wide policy concerning face coverings in the wake of the continued COVID-19 pandemic.

The policy was announced in a letter sent to Texas Tech students, staff, and faculty, and also posted on social media.

The new policy will allow for the school to return to in-person instruction during the fall 2020 semester for the majority of its individual colleges.

Effective immediately, face coverings will also be required for all staff, vendors, and visitors to the Texas Tech campus.

"Your health and safety are our first priority in ensuring the transition back to campus," said President Schovanec. "It is important that we all do our part, not only for ourselves, but also for our most vulnerable classmates, faculty and staff. We can only accomplish this together, so your support is very much appreciated."

You can read the full statement from the university below.

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Texas Tech University System Facial Covering Policy
Published June 24, 2020
(PDF linked in the following Tweet: https://twitter.com/TexasTech/status/1275883013780488193)

The TTU System and its component institutions (“University”) require all members of the University Community (students, faculty, staff, visitors, vendors and contractors) to wear protective face coverings (^1) on University campuses or in University facilities as provided below:

I. Requirements
A. In common areas (^2) on campus including, but not limited to, classrooms and other spaces used for teaching, research, and creative activity, Student Union, libraries, hallways, elevators, stairwells, restrooms, break rooms, foyers, event rooms and lobbies;
B. In patient care units, ambulatory clinic spaces, or procedural areas; or
C. Other areas where physical distancing of at least 6 feet is not maintained. Even when physical distancing of at least 6 feet can be maintained, face coverings are strongly recommended.

II. Exceptions

A. When eating or drinking, which should still be conducted maintaining physical distance;
B. In accordance with applicable law (e.g., an accommodation, including for medical reasons, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or pursuant to a bona fide religious belief);
C. For children under the age of 2 years old; or
D. By an instructor/presenter in a classroom or event room when a physical distance of at least 6 feet can be maintained from the class members/audience.

With prior University approval, units and departments may set other reasonable guidelines and policies that are particularly tailored to their specific workplace, healthcare, or learning environment (e.g., residence halls, recreation centers, athletics facilities, performance venues, research facilities, medical clinics).

Although failure to comply with this facial covering policy may lead to disciplinary action, efforts will first be made to educate members of the University Community of the need for facial coverings to control the spread of COVID-19. Warning will be given before disciplinary action is taken.

^1: For more information about face covering guidelines from the CDC, please see:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html

^2: Common areas do not include, and therefore facial coverings are not required in, individual offices or office suites where social distancing of at least 6 feet can be maintained.



(The letter published below is from Texas Tech University President Lawrence Schovanec on June 24th, 2020)

Dear Texas Tech University Community,

As we continue preparations for our return to campus and face-to-face instruction in the fall, we are taking into careful consideration all options to provide the safest learning and teaching environment for our community, including an update to previous face covering recommendations. We are also working closely with our partners across the Texas Tech University System to ensure consistency across all component institutions.

Beginning today, the University is implementing a mandatory face covering policy for all students, faculty and staff:

Students will be required to wear a mask or face covering when attending an in-person class.

In the classroom, faculty that are leading instruction will not be required to wear a face mask or face covering so that students are able to clearly understand the instruction and for the benefit of the hearing-impaired. To provide safety for our faculty and students, a social distancing barrier will be implemented in classrooms, studios, and laboratories.

Face masks or appropriate face coverings will be required in campus buildings by all students, faculty and staff.

Faculty and staff will be required to wear appropriate face coverings in all campus buildings with the exception of their private office or workspace.

Your health and safety are our first priority in ensuring the transition back to campus. It is important that we all do our part, not only for ourselves, but also for our most vulnerable classmates, faculty and staff. We can only accomplish this together, so your support is very much appreciated.

For more information on our return to campus and to Lubbock this fall, please visit the Texas Tech Commitment and Lubbock SAFE.