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Asian female student put on safety mask entering school building

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The rise in COVID-19 cases in the state of Georgia has propelled Morris Brown College to reinstitute masking mandates for its students and employees.

According to NewsOne, the HBCU based in Atlanta, Georgia sent out a letter detailing the guidelines for the mandate to faculty members, incoming students and staff last Friday (Aug. 18). The letter was then released publicly on the school’s Instagram account on Sunday (Aug. 20).

The mandate, which will be in existence for the next two weeks, requires everyone to wear masks. Physical distancing is also reinstated for students, as well as a ban on large gatherings and parties for students for those two weeks. In addition, students are required to undergo temperature checks upon arrival to campus and to take part in contact tracing efforts by the college. The contact tracing and other care and assistance will be provided by the school through its partnership with St. Joseph Mercy Care.

Morris Brown College made the move in response to the rising rate of COVID-19 cases being reported by the Atlanta University Center (AUC), which consists of Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, Morehouse College, and Morehouse School of Medicine. Their lead epidemiologist, Kara Garretson, recently released a resource guide for AUC students and employees to follow.

COVID-19 rates in Atlanta have risen since Aug. 5, according to the data collected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The rate of hospitalizations rose by 29.5%, with 322 confirmed cases in that time, and while the numbers are lower in comparison to the same time frame last year, there is concern as a new variant has been settling in around the nation. The EG.5 variant has been active for the last couple of months and is believed to be responsible for 17% of cases in the United States thus far.