Officials at Texas Christian University announced Tuesday that face masks will be required inside all campus buildings, effective immediately.
The decision came shortly after faculty members called on the administration to implement masking and other safety guidelines.
Journalism professor Chip Stewart is president of the TCU chapter of American Association of University Professors.
He said the move by TCU to require masks is a good start, but hopes the university will consider a vaccine requirement, implement CDC guidelines and conduct regular testing for those unvaccinated.
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"It's about our community," Stewart said. "We are not just a walled island at TCU. We are surrounded by businesses and schools and families and we can't pretend that our students and employees aren't going to go out in that community and catch COVID or bring COVID to it. So anything we can do in our power to limit that spread is the responsible thing to do."
Late Wednesday, TCU updated their policy allowing professors to temporarily move classes online if an outbreak occurred.
Across Texas, colleges and universities are reviewing their policies surrounding in-person classes and COVID-19 cases climb.
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Citing Governor Abbott's order against mask mandates, the large public university systems are not requiring vaccines or masks on campus, though each university said they encourage faculty and students to get the shot.
Private schools like Baylor are requiring regular testing for those unvaccinated. SMU announced they will also temporarily require masks indoors.
According to TCU, face masks must cover the nose and mouth and must be worn by all students, staff, faculty and visitors while indoors. That includes all instructional spaces, non-private office spaces or common areas, classrooms, common meeting space, break rooms or lounge areas dining facilities, except when eating or drinking, unions and public event space, the University Rec Center, elevators and hallways and public restrooms.
Face coverings may be removed while eating or drinking and are optional in private spaces such as private offices or residential rooms.
TCU said in an official release "Due to the current Tarrant County Community Spread Level of “High Transmission,” TCU requires that face masks be worn in all indoor campus spaces to help protect the health and safety of our community. Disposable masks are readily available at primary building entrances. TCU will continue to monitor county transmission and confirmed vaccinations in our community."