COVID-19 Update: A Change in Mask Wearing Policies

Dear Sweet Briar Community,

Move-in begins in earnest this weekend when our new students arrive and I’m pleased that around 90% of our on-campus community reports being fully vaccinated, with the remainder having medical and religious exemptions. I am most proud of you for your efforts to keep our campus safe.

Despite the good news about our Sweet Briar community, the nearby localities—Amherst County, Lynchburg and others—have far lower vaccination rates. Unfortunately, infection rates for the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 are on the rise across the country, especially among the unvaccinated, and there have even been breakthrough cases in people who are fully vaccinated. Furthermore, our neighboring communities are currently considered to be high risk areas of COVID-19 transmission.

For these reasons, to ensure our community’s health and safety, Sweet Briar College will need to follow the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and institute a masking policy.

Effective immediately, all members of the Sweet Briar community – whatever their vaccination status – will need to put on a mask while indoors in a public place, such as a classroom, a multi-person office space and Prothro (except while eating).

Community members who have received an exemption to vaccination will need to socially distance, where possible, as well as wear a mask.

It is very important for everyone to wear a mask while off campus in public spaces. If you find yourself heading off campus without a mask, please stop by the gatehouse. Officers there will have masks on hand to give out.

Students with questions about when and where to put on masks should inquire with Dean Greenstein; employees should see their supervisors.

While this news is disappointing, mask wearing is a small price to pay to be together and enjoy the benefits of in-person living and learning. As circumstances relating to COVID-19 change and the CDC updates its guidelines, so will Sweet Briar. In the meantime, I ask for your patience and your compliance as we navigate issues relating to the ongoing pandemic.

Thank you for your commitment to our public health. I look forward to a great year with all of you.

Meredith Woo