Aerial View of Downtown Atlanta, Georgia at Dawn

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Morris Brown College issued a strict mask mandate for students on campus as COVID-19 cases climb across the peach state.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the private Atlanta HBCU announced the unexpected news Aug.18 in a letter to faculty, staff and students. The mandate will be in place for two weeks and students on campus will have to follow social distancing guidelines.

So far, there have been no reports of COVID-19 at the college, but officials from Morris Brown worry that some of the positive cases occurring at the Atlanta University Center (AUC) may trickle over to campus. The notice was posted to Morris Brown’s Instagram account Aug. 20.

The AUC is the oldest and largest consortium of African American higher education institutions in the United States. The center consists of four historically Black colleges and universities: Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, Morehouse College and Morehouse School of Medicine.


In addition to the mask mandate, students and faculty will also be required to follow social distancing guidelines.

In order to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, all students and employees are required to wear a mask on campus. Students will also be required to participate in contact tracing efforts, undergo temperature checks and adhere to CDC guidelines. The college will place a brief ban on large student events and parties. Frequent handwashing is also expected from students and faculty.

During the two-week mandate, students who test positive will need to isolate for at least five days and take virtual classes. The college will provide COVID-19 care and assistance through its formal partnership with St. Joseph Mercy Care.



New cases are on the rise.

As of Aug. 5. Georgia has seen a swift uptick in COVID-19 cases. According to the CDC, 399 cases were confirmed and hospitalizations rose by 29.5 percent in early August. While much lower than in 2022, the jump marks a significant increase since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health experts say that the new EG.5 variant may be to blame for the sharp increase. According to CNN, EG. 5 accounts for about 17 % of new COVID cases across the U.S. While it does seem to be more transmissible than other strains, symptoms associated with the new variant do not appear to be more severe.

“I do expect that there will be widespread infections, and I would expect that those widespread infections would generally be mild,” Dr. Dan Barouch, an immunologist at Harvard University told CNN. “The people who are at high risk for severe disease, obviously, have to continue to take precautions.”


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