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Fort Hays State University drops required COVID safety measures, fully reopens

Coronavirus in Kansas

HAYS, Kan. (KSNW) – Fort Hays State University announced campus life has returned to pre-pandemic normal. Effective June 1, the university phased out its COVID protocols.

“Fort Hays State is fully reopened. It’s already started this summer and we’re ready to segway into the fall semester,” said Joey Linn, Vice President for Student Affairs.

Masks, social distancing, and limited capacities are no longer required and COVID signage is being removed. Remote work for employees has ended and officials say employees are back in offices full-time with limited exceptions.

“We are excited to get our faculty and staff completely back this summer so we can have all of our programming and courses ready to go for the fall semester,” said Jill Arensdorf, Provost Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Activities and events are taking a pre-pandemic approach. Organizers are no longer required to submit planning forms and requests for event approval. “This summer, we’ve got camps all over campus. Little kids, older kids. We’ve got a big band camp coming up,” said Linn.

The changes come as the summer semester gets underway, but will become magnified in the fall when classes ramp up and more students return to campus. “We’re thrilled to be able to offer that on-campus experience for our students this fall,” said Arensdorf.

Although COVID safety measures have been lifted, school officials urge students, staff, and visitors to be mindful of the lessons learned from the past year and continue to take part in basic public health and safety practices including washing hands, staying home if sick, and disinfecting surfaces.

“We’re feeling our way through this pandemic and we are finding joy and energy coming out of it,” said Arensdorf.

University officials say they are excited about the reopening, but stress changes could happen based on the latest guidance and conditions. “This past year has been challenging to say the least, but one thing about Fort Hays State is we are resilient,” said Linn.

The university is offering accommodations for those that may be hesitant to return to life as normal. Those people are directed to contact the Fort Hays State University Human Resources Department if an employee and Student Accessibility Services if a student.

For more information on the reopening, click here.

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