On Wednesday, Feb. 2, Samford University announced a new update to the COVID-19 protocols on campus. The university sent the announcement via email to the entire Samford community.
Among other things, the email explained that the indoor mask mandate on campus will be modified. .
“Beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 11 masking will be recommended but optional in all indoor facilities on campus,” the email said.
The email stated that professors can still require masking in classrooms, and students must follow their professors’ rules.
According to the email, the random sentinel testing program is currently suspended , but the free daily COVID-19 testing clinic on campus is still available to all Samford students and employees.
The email encourages the Samford community to “continue to be diligent in monitoring (their) personal health” and reiterates that the university “continues to strongly encourage” all employees and students be fully vaccinated and boosted.
In an email to The Samford Crimson, Holly Gainer, Director of University Communication, said this decision was made based on data reported by the county and state public health authorities, and that while sentinel testing has been suspended , the free COVID-19 testing clinic for students and employees is still available on Monday through Friday from 7-8:30 a.m. in 207 Siebert Hall.
“The recent decisions about masking and random sentinel testing were made based on data reported by county and state public health authorities and favorable trends both on campus and in our local community,” Gainer said.
According to the COVID-19 dashboard on Samford University’s website, there have been 91 positive cases reported in the last week amongst students and employees as of Feb. 2. Seventy-three of these positive cases have been students.
In the email to The Crimson, Gainer said that the number of positive cases within the post-Step Sing COVID-19 testing was in line with overall campus trends. Gainer also said that the decision to update campus protocols was not based on the positivity rates within any specific groups on campus.
“The positive number of cases post-Step Sing were low and well within the typical rates for campus as a whole,” Gainer said.
In Jefferson County, where Samford is located, the positivity rate as of Feb. 3 is 36%, according to The New York Times.