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Beaufort County Community College requiring face masks

Beaufort County Community College is instituting the mandatory wearing of face masks by all students, faculty and staff as of August 9, including individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. “This decision coincides with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendation that all individuals—including fully vaccinated individuals—wear masks indoors in areas with ‘substantial or high transmission’ rates,” stated a BCCC press release. “Currently, Beaufort, Hyde, and Washington Counties are experiencing ‘substantial’ transmission, while Tyrrell County is experiencing a ‘high’ rate of COVID-19 transmission.”

BCCC stated the mandate will not apply to individuals when they are alone in their offices or workspaces, nor will it apply outdoors. The college is not reinstating social distancing, but will maintain its ongoing disinfection of all spaces on campus.

“While the College will not be asking students, faculty, or staff to disclose their vaccination status, it encourages vaccination as students will be in close proximity with other students who travel between high schools, workplaces, and homes with varying safety protocols,” stated the release. “Free vaccines are readily available at local drug stores and at each county health department. Classes start on August 16, and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that is available for ages 12 and up requires a second dose after 21 days or three weeks for full efficacy.”

BCCC stated it believes that the best way to serve its students is through in-person courses. “Returning to an all-virtual environment is not effective for teaching and learning, especially when there is a vaccine available that will prevent serious illness,” stated the release. “Therefore, the college will move forward with in-person classes without social distancing, trusting to vaccines and masks to slow transmission of the virus.”

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