BEMIDJI -- Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College have extended their mask mandate, which was set to expire on Oct. 1, through the end of the fall semester.

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. The mandate was then extended through at least Oct. 1 and reevaluated on Monday, Sept. 27.

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.

Students affected by this requirement will include:

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  • Students who live in university-owned or managed residences
  • Students who participate in intercollegiate athletics that already follow NCAA-announced vaccine and testing protocols
  • Student interns as required or directed by their clinical or internship duties

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.

Beltrami County Public Health continues hosting 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 Wednesday, Oct. 6.

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