ACC to Drop Mask Mandate


Image by Mika Baumeister via Unsplash.

Update: March 11, 9:32 p.m.:

Along with the change to mask mandates, ACC has removed the testing protocol for unvaccinated students. The unvaccinated students were informed in an email on Feb. 26. The email stated this was due to, “Positivity rates and new cases dropping in areas across our state and know that most of our employees and students have been vaccinated and/or boosted.”

When asked why COVID protocols were changing, Dean of Students Jovan Brame said, “The college took the transmission rate of covid into account. There was a dropping positivity rate and number rate. And most of the staff and students are vaccinated.” Although COVID can change, and ACC states that if community levels rise to medium, masks will be required. 

While the spread of COVID has diminished, the email specifies that “Individuals who are feeling unwell should not come to campus.  Employees, please contact your supervisor.  Students, please contact your instructors.” Employees and students are still required to report exposure or positive test results to the college in line with the State Public Health Order. The President’s Office says that individuals who are not fully vaccinated are highly encouraged to wear a mask.

March 10, 8:36 p.m.:

Arapahoe Community College (ACC) will be dropping their mask mandate starting March 28, 2022.

An email from the Office of the President, that was sent out in the evening on Thursday, March 10, announced that ACC will be adjusting their masking policy. Careful consideration was made to make facial coverings optional on campus. 

The announcement clarified the reasoning behind this change, stating that “our current COVID 19 community levels and disease severity are low. Vaccination rates of those 5 and over in Arapahoe County are at 71% and 77% in Douglas County.”

ACC has asked that students and staff continue to carry masks on them after March 28, as there are a few exceptions to the change. Masks may still be required if an instructor asks students to continue wearing them in their classroom, if a staff member asks that masks be worn in an individual or close-quartered meeting in staff offices, or in locations on campus with signs requesting that masks be worn. ACC will continue to follow the State of Colorado’s guidelines for the Child Development Center, which currently recommend facial coverings in childcare facilities. 

Students and staff are still expected to report all exposures and positive COVID-19 test results. Individuals impacted by these reports will continue to be notified by ACC, as is required by a State Public Health Order.

There are still steps being taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus on campus. Masks will still be available, as will hand sanitizer. ACC will be deep cleaning any areas exposed to coronavirus. 

ACC is also encouraging anyone who would prefer to continue to wear a mask to do so, as well as encouraging unvaccinated students and staff to wear a mask. 

The decision to wait until March 28 to drop the mask mandate was done because it “allows for thorough communication and preparation for those members of our college community needing to prepare for this change,” according to the announcement. 

The announcement ended by adding that mask policy may continue to change, stating that administration “will continue to monitor our community levels. As we have experienced with COVID 19 things could change. If community levels rise to medium, we will once again require masks.”