The Board of Trustees voted 5-2 to end the mask mandate on Friday, May 28 as well as reducing social distancing from six feet to three feet at their April Board meeting, April 13.
“Summer enrollment is usually lower than fall enrollment, so we felt really comfortable going back to regular classroom capacities,” President Kim Krull said. “We would still have online classes, and we would still have remote options available for students.”
Krull hopes the changes will allow the college to return to operating as it did before the pandemic, as close as possible.
As for the Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT), they will continue to meet to ensure the college case rates are managed, and the campus is following protocol.
“Our CIMT group will continue to meet following [Tuesday,] May 29,” Vice President of Student Services Bill Rinkenbaugh said. “I don’t believe that the pandemic will end on that date, so we will still continue to discuss issues associated with Covid and protocols to keep everyone safe and able to be engaged in a positive learning environment for all. I believe we will continue to hold our weekly meetings until such time as they are not needed.”
CIMT, with the help of many other departments, spent several hours trying to keep students and faculty safe. Rinkenbaugh expressed his gratitude to everyone who made this school year successful.
“If I try to thank all that made this semester with the pandemic a success, I will certainly overlook someone,” he said. “I will say that it took the entire village – faculty, staff and students – to make this academic year a success.”
This change in policy has had some mixed reactions. Most of the concerns revolve around the controversy between mask wearers and non-mask wearers, and how individuals would respond to one’s choice of wearing or not wearing a mask.
The college will still provide PPE (personal protective equipment) and sanitation. Instructors will still be allowed to teach remotely with an approved form, and students will still have the option of online classes. As always, the importance of staying safe and regularly taking a Covid-19 self-assessment is encouraged by Krull, as well as following the new policy, which can be found here: https://www.butlercc.edu/downloads/file/1540/covid-self-screening-questionnaire
As far as Covid goes, these changes signify the time and effort put into ensuring the safety of faculty and staff throughout the year.
“I think it’s exciting, this spring, to be able to have commencement outside now, and we’re doing some year-end kind of celebrations that we couldn’t do a year ago,” Krull said. “And I think that’s a testament to the hard work that everybody put into this, so I’d just say thank you to everybody, for everything that’s gone into this and I specifically really want to congratulate and pat students on the back because you guys were a big part of that effort.”