Masks will remain until higher vaccination rate is reached


Sophie Reese

CMT decided on Oct. 1 that they will not be changing the current mask policy.

by Paul Hyatt, Feature Editor

Simpson College has decided not to alter its mask usage policies due to low student vaccination rates and high community spread. 

On Oct. 1, the COVID Management Team announced in an email that it would not be changing the current policy. 

According to CMT chair Heidi Levine, Simpson has decided to maintain their protocol for two reasons. Those reasons are that the student vaccination rate is not yet 80% and the Warren County community is considered to have a high transmission rate by the CDC. 

According to the CDC, Warren County remains at a high community transmission rate. Within the last seven days, 183 cases were reported. Less than 10 deaths have been reported in that time period. 52.4% of Warren County residents are fully vaccinated.  

“Opening much of campus life has been wonderful and we look forward to further easing restrictions in the weeks and months ahead,” Levine said. “At the same time, we must do so in a responsible manner that reflects both Simpson’s reality and the status and trajectory of COVID in our larger community.”

Another large factor in CMT’s decision process was the pre-established goal of an 80% vaccination rate amongst students. 

As of Oct. 6, the student COVID-19 vaccination rate remains at 76%, 4% away from the goal of 80%, four more vaccinated students have won $200 for submitting their vaccine cards to health services. If 50 more students get vaccinated, the campus will reach the 80% vaccine rate to move to the green phase. 85% of Simpson faculty and staff are vaccinated.  

The West Des Moines Campus has a significantly lower percentage of vaccinated students.

Vaccination rates, however, are lagging for our West Des Moines campus students: that vaccination rate stands at 49%, but West Moines faculty and staff are at 91%,” the email said. 

Once the campus reaches the student vaccination goal, the policy will be revisited.