Ohio University President Duane Nellis approved an interim face covering policy Friday, several days after a statewide mask mandate was signed by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

The policy is effective immediately and applies to students, faculty, staff and visitors at all OU campuses and buildings. Masks must be worn inside buildings and outside when social distancing is not possible.

The policy comes after a spike of COVID-19 cases in Athens County, where OU’s main campus is located.

Exceptions to the rule include children under the age of 10, those eating and drinking, childcare workers, people exercising and those inside their own dorm room, among other exceptions outlined in the policy

Individuals who cannot wear a face covering because of a disability can request accommodations through the Office for University Accessibility. 

“It is critical that we all do our part to take care of one another by following essential public health guidance, including wearing a face covering where possible to ensure the health and well-being of our University and respective communities,” Nellis said in the news release.

All OU students, faculty and staff are also required to sign a pledge affirming their role in stopping the spread of the coronavirus. The pledge asks all students to “observe heightened health and safety precautions in the coming academic year,” according to OU’s website.

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