Can we look at implementing a policy that would allow groups to no longer have to wear face shields during training in the lab?
Yes, face shields were an extra layer of protection added when much information about COVID-19 was still unknown. In light of vaccine availability, combined with more information about COVID-19 transmission, we will be eliminating the requirement to wear both face shields and face masks when in close proximity in research spaces.
We will work with the Protect Purdue Implementation Team to evaluate modifying our current face shield policy to remove the requirement for vaccinated individuals; however, face masks would still be required in alignment with Protect Purdue policies. This change may be more feasible for fall than summer, as this summer there will be a larger transient, non-Purdue population on campus and in labs than we’ve allowed over the past year (e.g., REUs). Generally, Purdue is taking the approach of incentivizing, rather than mandating, vaccinations, so this could be a good approach to target the research population. Purdue is investigating systems to track and monitor vaccination status and declinations for students and employees, which will help to inform what type of allowances and privileges we can implement for those who are vaccinated.