BEMIDJI -- Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College will implement mandatory masking for indoor public spaces starting Monday, Aug. 9 and will remain in place until at least Tuesday, Aug. 31.

According to a release from BSU and NTC President Faith Hensrud, with the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, and increase in the number of people traveling to Bemidji in preparation for the new school year, masks will be required for students, employees and visitors regardless of vaccination status.

All on-campus and leased spaces will require masks including, but not limited to, the Mayflower Building, David Park House, the Sanford Center and inside state-owned vehicles when riding with passengers.

Limited exceptions to masking include when someone is inside their own dorm room or apartment and when working in an individual office space alone with the door closed.

Temporary removal of masks is allowed in the following situations:

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  • During certain indoor sports and exercise activities

  • During certain indoor speaking, teaching or performance activities

  • During indoor musical (wind) instrument practice or performance

  • Eating and/or drinking while indoors in designated eating areas

  • When communicating with those with hearing impairments and other health conditions

  • When alone in a room or in certain cubicles

  • When alone in a university vehicle or heavy machinery cab

This mandate will be reevaluated on Monday, Aug. 30. Masks will still be required on campuses if one of two conditions are met:

  • If Beltrami County reaches and remains at substantial spread for a period of seven consecutive days

  • Immediately upon reaching high levels of spread

Any further mask mandates would stay in place for 14 days, a time period recommended by Beltrami County Public Health and the Minnesota Department of Health.

BSU and NTC strongly encourage but are not requiring vaccinations for those who are currently unvaccinated. They also advise anyone who is feeling ill to remain home even if they are fully vaccinated.

BSU is also planning several COVID-19 testing events for on-campus students and employees in the coming weeks, updates for which are available at www.bemidjistate.edu.

No other changes in campus operations are planned.