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CLC to mandate masks beginning Monday

“We’re really committed to providing an exciting, vibrant semester for our students. They’ve worked so hard, it’s incredible. We have just amazing students. So while they will be wearing masks, they can count on a full CLC experience," CLC President Hara Charlier said.

CLC Central Lakes College Entrance Exterior.jpg
Central Lakes College entrance. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Central Lakes College will implement a mask mandate on both of its campuses beginning Monday, Aug. 9.

The college made the announcement Tuesday, Aug. 3, a week after updated masking guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a few days after direction from Minnesota State Chancellor Devinder Malhotra for schools in counties with high transmission rates to implement mask mandates for the upcoming school year.

“Everything that we do is about health and safety and helping students to meet their goals,” CLC President Hara Charlier said during a phone interview Tuesday. “... And while none of us want to know that COVID is still amongst us, it absolutely is.”

Dr. Hara Charlier.JPG
Dr. Hara Charlier

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The CDC recommends fully vaccinated individuals wear a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission. Vaccinated individuals may also choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they or someone in their household is immunocompromised or at an increased risk for severe disease if exposed to the coronavirus, or if someone in their household is unvaccinated.

Crow Wing County is among counties in Minnesota with “substantial” or “high” levels of COVID-19 transmission, according to the CDC. Given the rise in cases and likely continued upward trend, Malhotra said in his letter all Minnesota state colleges and universities should prepare to pivot toward masking protocols consistent with CDC guidance. Any Minnesota State school may implement masking protocols at their discretion after notifying Vice Chancellor of Finance and Facilities Bill Maki.

A news release from CLC cited increasing case numbers in Minnesota and the rise of the delta variant of the coronavirus as further reasoning for the mask mandate.

With classes beginning Aug. 23, CLC will offer in-person, online and hybrid classes as normal on both of its campuses.

“We’re really committed to providing an exciting, vibrant semester for our students,” Charlier said. “They’ve worked so hard, it’s incredible. We have just amazing students. So while they will be wearing masks, they can count on a full CLC experience.”

The college will operate at normal capacity levels but provide spaces so students can spread out and stay further apart from others if desired. Regular cleaning and the use of Plexiglas will continue.

Charlier said CLC also encourages students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination clinics will be available during orientation day for new students Aug. 20 and on campus throughout the year as needed.

CLC is also offering vaccine incentives. Students who are vaccinated on campus or show proof of prior vaccination will receive a free CLC Raiders hooded sweatshirt and be entered into a drawing for a chance to win an Xbox Series X and a PlayStation 5.

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“As a college that is very committed both to the liberal arts and career and technical education, having people here is extremely important, and we are very committed to delivering an entire college experience,” Charlier said. “So they can count on it, and we can’t wait to welcome them back.”

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa .
Related Topics: EDUCATIONCENTRAL LAKES COLLEGECLCCORONAVIRUSCOVID-19 VACCINE
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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