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Murray State removes masking mandate on campus

Murray State University joins a growing list of institutions updating their masking policies after new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. MSU president Bob Jackson announced the shift in a Monday morning email.

“Since the start of the pandemic, Murray State has adhered to CDC guidelines, as well as guidance provided by the Calloway County Health Department and other state and local healthcare officials,” Jackson said.

The university official cited a recent decline in local, regional and national COVID-19 cases as further support for the decision, along with the new guidance from the CDC.

Murray State University still could possibly see the return of a mandatory masking policy. Jackson said the university will base future decisions regarding COVID-19 safety protocols off data provided by the CDC’s new Community Level tool. This tool takes into account the number of patients admitted to local hospitals with COVID-19, the number of staffed ICU beds available for COVID-19 patients and the total new case count for the area.

Currently, Calloway County is classified as at the medium level. But, if the level became high, Jackson said the previous face mask policy would be reinstated. Of Kentucky’s 120 counties, 102 are rated at a high level as of Feb. 28. The other 18, including Calloway, Fulton, McLean and Todd counties, are rated medium.

“While voluntary, we also continue to strongly encourage everyone, in consultation with your healthcare provider, to get an initial COVID-19 vaccine and the booster vaccine,” Jackson said in the email. “The vaccines are safe and effective against this disease and are our best defense.”

Personal protective equipment like K-N95 masks are also available through the Racer Restart program by filling out a request form.

Zacharie Lamb is a music major at Murray State University and is a Graves County native.
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