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Clemons Library closed early Sunday following low face mask compliance

25 percent of the occupants in Clemons were not wearing their masks throughout the afternoon

<p>25 percent of the occupants in Clemons Library yesterday were not wearing masks throughout the afternoon, despite the University's policy mandating all students to wear masks in indoor spaces.</p>

25 percent of the occupants in Clemons Library yesterday were not wearing masks throughout the afternoon, despite the University's policy mandating all students to wear masks in indoor spaces.

Clemons Library was closed Sunday afternoon and Monday morning following low compliance with the University’s face mask policy as outlined in SEC-045.

Policy SEC-045 mandates that students wear masks in indoor spaces except when they are alone and in their private spaces, such as their dorm rooms or apartments.

According to an email statement from Elyse Girard, director of communications for the University library system, face mask compliance was low on Sunday afternoon with 25 percent of the occupants in Clemons not wearing their masks throughout the afternoon.

Girard says that library staff asks individuals to wear masks covering their nose and mouth at all times while in the building. Girard stated that numerous warnings were given by library staff that they would close the library for two hours if mask-wearing compliance did not improve. 

“If after several attempts, we still don’t have everyone wearing masks properly, we [temporarily] close the space for two hours and require everyone to leave,” Girard said.

Clemons Library was temporarily closed at 5 p.m. Because the library closes at 6 p.m., the closure was extended to 10:00 a.m. the following day, one hour after it was scheduled to open.  

“The two-hour closing time frame is meant to give staff the opportunity to reset the space and to emphasize the importance of wearing a mask,” Girard said.

The University has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases in the community. The University reported a single-day high of 60 positive test results among students, staff, faculty and contract employees on Sept. 17, breaking the previous day’s high of 52 cases. Over the weekend, the University reported 72 new cases.

Clusters of cases have also been reported in dorms. Students in Echols, Kellogg, Balz-Dobie and Lefevre dorms were asked to temporarily quarantine and get tested after wastewater analysis indicated potential COVID-19 cases.

Correction: A previous version of this article included a quote from Elyse Girard stating that 75 percent of Clemons Library occupants were not wearing a mask, when in fact, 25 percent of occupants were not wearing a mask. This has been corrected.

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