LAS VEGAS–Chancellor Melody Rose of Nevada’s System of Higher Education issued a memo Wednesday that NSHE employees must comply with new mask policies issued by the Clark County Board of Commissioners this week. The directive is aimed solely at NSHE’s Clark County employees, but indicates both “paid or unpaid employees” must comply.
Students and members of the public visiting NSHE campuses are not required to wear face coverings. However, faculty, staff, graduate assistants, student workers, interns, contractors and volunteers are included in the requirement.
NSHE’s directive mirrors the mandate issued by the Clark County Commission July 20, which requires employees working indoors in public spaces to wear masks. The mandate deviates from the recommendation handed down by the Southern Nevada Health District last week which advised that all people should wear masks in “crowded indoor public places.”
The Nevada Current reported today that local and state officials are defending the mask mandate, which some—including a member of the governor’s own advisory team—say doesn’t go far enough to protect visitors and the community from transmission of COVID-19.
Southern Nevada is seeing a surge in new cases of the disease as the Delta variant makes its way through the community.
Rose’s memo states that NSHE employees working in socially distanced offices or non-public spaces may remove their masks. She also said those who have been vaccinated should not be criticized or judged for continuing to wear masks.
Anti-mask advocates have hurled insults at people who have chosen to wear face coverings to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 transmission, using terms such as “face diapers,” and some law enforcement officials around the nation have refused to enforce mask mandates.
Rose also urged NSHE students, staff and the community to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The vaccine is readily available at numerous locations throughout the Clark County community. Increasing vaccination rates is the primary key to ending the COVID-19 pandemic, and NSHE continues to encourage all students and employees to receive it,” she wrote.
The updated masking policy applies to University of Nevada, Las Vegas; College of Southern Nevada; Nevada State College; Desert Research Institute; and NSHE’s System Administration and System Computing Services. Employees at all other NSHE locations should continue to comply with existing masking policies.