SFA to loosen COVID-19 restrictions beginning for summer semester


NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KETK) — Stephen F. Austin State University will soon loosen some of the restrictions that are in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“With expanded vaccine availability and limited impact from spring break travel, COVID-19 conditions are trending in a promising direction on campus,” an announcement from the university said.

The changes will go into place beginning with the summer semester.

The new policy states:
• Face coverings will still be required in classrooms and labs until further notice.
• Campus physical distance requirements have been adjusted from 6 feet to 3 feet in classrooms and shared spaces.

According to a statement on the college website, COVID-19 conditions are trending in a “promising direction” on campus, in Nacogdoches and the region. As of April 5, there are three active cases connected to campus – three students and zero employees.

The university hopes to remove all restrictions for the fall 20201 semester.

“While we recommend reopening the campus to normal operation in Fall 2021 with a summer transition, some level of limitations may be necessary if pandemic conditions worsen,” said information on the website. “We are hopeful that increased availability of COVID vaccines and increased herd immunity over the summer will allow campus operations to return to normal.”

The COVID-19 Operations Team, Faculty Senate and Chairs Forum leadership, members of the President’s Cabinet and representatives of Student Government Association recommended the changes.

The complete set of guidelines beginning for the summer semester include:

Individuals must continue to wear face coverings over the nose and mouth in indoor classrooms and labs, until further notice. Individuals are also strongly encouraged to do so wherever it is not feasible to maintain physical distance from another person not in the same household. The face covering exemptions process will remain the same.

Campus physical distance requirements have been adjusted from 6 feet to 3 feet in classrooms and shared spaces.

Occupancy on campus will open to 100%, with the exception of classrooms, laboratories and shared spaces requiring a physical distance of 3 feet.

Face coverings will remain mandatory on all public transportation. It is strongly encouraged in SFA/state-owned or -rented vehicles.

All areas on campus will continue to be cleaned and sanitized, with focused attention on high-traffic areas. This will allow custodians to begin to return to their regular cleaning schedule.

Continue current COVID-19 protocols.

Continue to follow the NCAA protocols for athletic events.

Remain in operation through the summer term.

SFA employees and students have assisted in the administration of more than 20,000 COVID-19 vaccinations in Nacogdoches County in 2021. As of Monday, March 29, Texas vaccine eligibility has been extended to all individuals 18 years of age and older, as well as educators. COVID-19 vaccines are not mandatory for students or employees at this time.

It is important for individuals to remain vigilant of their health and symptoms. Individuals should screen themselves for COVID-19 symptoms daily. If they feel sick, they must stay home. If they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has, they must follow quarantine and isolation guidelines and get tested. If an individual tests positive, they should report it in MySFA.

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