GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College is requiring masks indoors to combat the delta variant of COVID-19, as well as offering incentives to encourage students to get vaccinated.
The face covering requirement, which begins Tuesday, follows a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to wear masks in areas of “substantial” or “high” transmission.
Kent and Ottawa counties were moved into the “substantial” category as of Monday, according to the CDC's tracker.
Students who have already received the COVID-19 vaccine or who are fully vaccinated by Nov. 15 will receive a $200 credit on their RaiderCard accounts to use for campus dining, parking, printing and in the campus bookstore.
GRCC says the incentive will be available for students enrolled for the Fall 2021 semester.
The college is using federal Strengthening Institutions Program Higher Education Emergency Relief funds for the project.
“An increased number of students and employees are coming back to campus this fall as we emerge from the pandemic,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “We believe vaccines are the best way to assure students are able to successfully engage in on-campus learning and participate in campus activities. Vaccines are readily available, and we’ll provide vaccinations here on campus to make sure everyone has the opportunity to get one. Promoting vaccines is one more thing we can do to keep our campus safe.”
The incentive program is one of the steps GRCC is taking or extending as part of a campus safety and wellness plan.
As part of that plan, on-campus class sizes will be limited to 75% capacity, and the college is replacing two-person desks with single-person desks in most classrooms.
Hundreds of hand sanitizing stations were added last year, along with changes to campus cooling and ventilation systems to increase air flow.
INTERACTIVE MAP: COVID-19 protocols at Michigan colleges, universities for Fall 2021