MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) — Central Michigan University joined the ranks of schools to require people on campus to wear masks when students return to campus this fall, the school’s president announced on Monday, Aug. 2.

In a letter to students, President Bob Davies said students, faculty, and staffers must wear masks in class at least through the end of September. The letter comes as the school said classrooms will return to full capacity and that the vast majority of classes will involve a “face-to-face component.”

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The letter also was at a time when the number of COVID-19 cases has climbed across the United States and comes as schools, companies, and other institutions have issued their own mask mandates and orders requiring students and employees to get vaccinated to slow the spread of the virus. In Michigan, while CMU stopped short of mandating vaccinations, MLive reports that at least eight other colleges and universities are making the shot at least a partial requirement for attendance this fall.

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“While we do not require our students and employees to be vaccinated, we strongly encourage everyone to get a vaccine,” Davies said in the letter to the school, where a recent survey revealed just about 34% of its on-campus students have been vaccinated. “It not only protects you but also helps to protect your friends and classmates, our entire campus, and the surrounding community.”

As part of the effort to encourage students to get vaccinated, the president’s letter reminded students that while vaccinated people are not required to wear masks in gatherings of fewer than 25 people in a “well-ventilated, noninstructional space,” those who aren’t vaccinated must still wear masks and practice social distancing.

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