Face Masks and Coverings On Campus

Purpose

Hesston College believes in creating a healthy and safe environment in which our students, employees and visitors can fully participate. In response to federal and state guidance regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and based upon current scientific evidence, Hesston College requires that all employees, student workers, students, contractors and guests wear a face mask/covering inside campus facilities in order to protect others and the public’s health. Hesston College will continue to update our policy following national and local guidelines and pairing it with what we feel is best for the environment in which we work and serve our students.

The use of a face mask/covering slows the spread of the virus by reducing the transmission of the virus in airborne particles by people who have the virus. Face masks/coverings are a physical display of our care of others and allow those that are more vulnerable to return to and fully participate in our campus. This is especially important because people may be infected with the virus and infectious to others before they are aware that they are sick. Even those that are vaccinated have the ability to carry the virus and infect others.

The use of face masks/coverings is most effective when everyone participates and is in combination with vaccination, handwashing, physical distancing and self-screening for symptoms of possible illness.
We understand that face masks/coverings can feel burdensome, but nonetheless we ask every member of our campus community to persevere in wearing them.

Policy

We require that a face mask/covering be worn when in an indoor shared space when in the presence of others.
This includes:

  • Working in common areas such as shared work areas, meeting spaces, break rooms and office reception areas;
  • Classrooms and other group meeting spaces;
  • Working side-by-side with another employee;
  • Rooms or enclosed indoor areas where other people are present.

The face mask/covering policy excludes:

  • Working alone in a private office or other work areas where you can be reasonably confident that the virus cannot be transmitted to other people (but have your face mask available);
  • If you are presenting to a group of people indoors, except when in an academic or classroom setting;
  • Individuals who have a documented medical exception not to use a facemask/covering (see Exception section below);
  • Removing a face mask/covering for purposes of communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Athletic teams, during competitions and practice, who will abide by the regulations set by the conference, and vaccinated students performing during performing art productions when approved by academics.

Supporting Behavior Change

This policy will succeed if all of us are motivated out of care for each other and our community. We will seek to be kind and supportive, but also accountable, as we respond to one another and change our collective behaviors. If someone forgets to wear a mask when it is needed, we will seek to offer one or ask that they get one.

Students will be asked to return to their rooms to retrieve their mask. If masks are needed and someone refuses to wear a mask, they will be asked to leave the classroom or meeting. Patterns of non-compliance may fall under the Student Community Standards or for employees 502: Progressive Discipline.

Face Mask/Covering Dos and Don’ts

Face masks/coverings are only effective for protection if they are handled, worn, stored and laundered or disposed of properly. Face masks are only one part of an effective COVID prevention strategy and must be implemented in conjunction with physical distancing, hand washing and rigorous cleaning of shared surfaces.

A mask or face covering can be made of a variety of synthetic and natural fibers, including cotton, silk or linen. Ideally, a mask or other face-covering has two or more layers. A mask or other face covering may be factory-made, sewn by hand or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, bandanas or T-shirts.

Masks should be placed over your nose and mouth and secured under the chin, fitting snugly against the sides of your face. Reusable masks should be washed frequently with warm soapy water.
Please limit touching the mask while on and do not reuse unwashed masks.

Exceptions

If there is a medical reason that you are unable to wear a face mask/covering, please contact the following to discuss alternative options:
Students: Kristin Kaufman, Student Success Coordinator, kristin.kaufman@hesston.edu, 620-327-8213
Employees: Monica Miller, Director of Human Resources, monica.miller@hesston.edu, 620-327-8265