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Monday, 6 July 2020

Georgia Tech won't require students to wear masks on campus

Over 750 faculty at Georgia Tech signed a letter to the University System of Georgia's Board of Regents saying that the school's plan to reopen campus without face mask requirements is dangerous and not based on science.
"We are alarmed to see the Board of Regents and the University System of Georgia mandating procedures that do not follow science-based evidence, increase the health risks to faculty, students, and staff, and interfere with nimble decision-making necessary to prepare and respond to Covid-19 infection risk," the letter from faculty says.
The faculty letter comes after Georgia Tech issued its "Tech Moving Forward" plans for reopening campus with in-class instruction in the fall. According to the plan, Georgia Tech students are "strongly encouraged" to wear a cloth face covering on campus but are not required to do so.
    Seth Marder, a professor of chemistry, materials science and engineering at Georgia Tech, said the policy of not mandating masks is "irresponsible and puts the Georgia Tech community at significant health risk."
    Georgia is one of 31 states that have not mandated people wear masks. Wearing a face covering is one of the cheapest and simplest ways to slow the spread of Covid-19, according to several studies and the country's leading health experts.
    The letter is part of a wider pushback from university faculties across the country who are wary of returning to college campuses in close proximity to thousands of young people as Covid-19 continues to spread.
    The recent sharp increases in confirmed coronavirus cases across the US South and West is being driven by young people who are not social distancing or avoiding social gatherings. Young people are generally less likely to be hospitalized or die from Covid-19, but they are not immune to the virus and can still spread it to older people with underlying health issues.
    With a median age of 49, tenure-track faculty at universities are seven years older than the median American worker, according to research from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.

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