BEMIDJI -- Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College have extended the mask mandate that was originally set to be reevaluated Monday, Aug. 30, but will now run through at least Friday, Oct. 1.

According to the BSU website, the masking requirement for all people in indoor, public spaces at both campuses was extended in response to COVID-19 transmission levels for Beltrami County and guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Both campuses mandated masks ahead of the school year starting Monday, Aug. 9 with an original end date of Tuesday, Aug. 31, unless Beltrami County reached and remained at a substantial spread of COVID for a period of seven consecutive days, or immediately upon high levels of spread.

In addition to the mandate, Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities, announced guidelines on Wednesday, Aug. 18 that will require certain students to provide a vaccine attestation -- a declaration that someone is fully vaccinated -- or be subject to weekly COVID testing.

This will go into effect no later than Monday, Oct. 4, for all 37 colleges and universities in the Minnesota State system, a release said.

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Beltrami County Public Health is also hosting several free vaccine clinics for BSU and NTC students and employees in the Crying Wolf Conference Room of the Hobson Memorial Union at BSU. The next clinic is scheduled for noon to 2 p.m. on Sept. 8.

More information on BSU and NTC’s COVID mitigation measures can be found at www.bemidjistate.edu and www.ntcmn.edu.