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COVID transition and mask policy update from President Jensen | Bismarck State College

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COVID transition and mask policy update from President Jensen

Published: Apr 28 2021
Dear BSC community,

As we have been communicating these past few weeks, we are very excited to be transitioning back to a greater sense of normalcy at BSC. I am encouraged as plans for the 2021-22 academic year include returning to more face-to-face classes, students engaging in active hands-on learning, holding more student life activities, hosting music, theatre and arts events on campus, and bringing back our loyal Mystics fans to the stands for our athletic seasons. We are all looking forward to returning to a traditional and vibrant campus life at BSC. 
 
As more students, faculty and staff are increasing their awareness and understanding of COVID as it relates to their personal lives, we are seeing more individuals getting vaccinated every day. With substantially fewer students and employees on campus, more individuals getting vaccinated and more activities occurring outdoors, the summer months are the right time to begin our transition to a traditional Fall 2021 semester. 
 
Last week North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum announced that on Friday, April 30, the COVID-19 emergency declaration that has been in place for our state since March 2020 will be lifted. This means changes for the community and for BSC in the coming weeks.
 
We have had discussions with BSC Faculty Senate, BSC Staff Senate, BSC Student Government and others to share thoughts and gather input on how this change will impact BSC.
 
The BSC current mask mandate policy WILL remain in effect through Sunday, May 16, which marks the end of the spring semester. This includes all campus events and activities through this date. Beginning Monday, May 17, mask usage will not be mandated as it has been since August 2020.Masks will be optional. BSC will continue to provide masks, hand sanitizer and temperature screeners to students, employees and guests. It is equally important for each of us to monitor our own health. Those that are not feeling well should communicate with their healthcare provider and not come to campus until they are feeling well. Each individual has the responsibility to make decisions regarding how to care for themselves and to monitor and evaluate the impact COVID has on each of us, our families and the community. 
 
This is a start. We all need to navigate this transition together with professionalism and respect. As always, should there be a major change in the COVID case counts and State conditions, we will certainly revisit these guidelines and revise as necessary.
 
As we strive to return to normalcy, BSC will continue to provide resources to make responsible personal decisions regarding your COVID care including vaccination information from the ND Department of Health on our website. The campus community is encouraged to share the information and take advantage of vaccination opportunities. To date, approximately 530,000 COVID vaccine shots have been administered in North Dakota, and so with each passing day, more and more progress is made. It’s important that this momentum continues.
 
As I stated, this is the beginning of our transition to a post-COVID learning environment and we will continue to monitor COVID conditions in our state and adjust as necessary.
 
Thank you for your commitment to keeping our students, staff and faculty safe during this unprecedented school year. Your efforts were critical in keeping us together on campus and your diligence has not gone unnoticed. This is what has gotten us to where we are today. 
 
Best wishes to you as the Spring 2021 semester concludes.

Sincerely,
 
Douglas Jensen, BSC President