Oregon to lift mask mandate on March 11; UP undecided on following suit

UP launches survey for community input on mask policy due by March 13. Masks required indoors until at least March 20.

By Austin De Dios | March 10, 2022 7:11pm
Although the State of Oregon is set to lift the mask mandate on March 11, UP is undecided if they will. Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash.

Due to spring break travel, UP has decided to keep their mask requirement in place until at least March 20, nine days after the mask mandate is lifted in Oregon, according to an email to the UP community from the COVID-19 Steering Committee earlier today. 

UP has not decided if they will lift their mandate, but is asking community members to participate in a survey concerning removing the indoor mask requirement by March 21. The survey is due by 11:59 p.m. on March 13. 

Members of the community with vaccine exemptions will still be required to wear a mask. 

The most recent COVID-19 case numbers on campus include three positive cases as of March 8, and 90% of students compliant with the vaccine policy, according to the email. As of March 10, there were 433 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Oregon, compared to 3,176 reported on the same day last month, according to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). This is part of a larger decrease in cases — The state has had a 94% decline in positive cases since its Omicron peak between Jan. 17-23. 

Other universities have already decided to lift their mask mandates. Oregon State University and Willamette University will lift their mask mandates on March 12, while Portland State University and the University of Oregon are lifting their mandates on March 19, as reported by OPB

Two potential hurdles to UP lifting its mask mandate are Weekend on The Bluff, April 9-10, and commencement, April 30-May 1, occasions when UP will see an influx in visitors.

Last month, the Academic Senate passed a motion — with a 19 to zero vote and four abstentions — recommending that the COVID-19 Steering Committee keep UP’s mask mandate in place throughout the rest of the spring term. ASUP also voted against lifting the mask mandate, with a vote of 12 to zero, according to ASUP President Emma Fuller. 

UP will announce their plan by March 17, according to the email. 

Austin De Dios is Editor-in-Chief of the Beacon. He can be reached at dedios22@up.edu

William Seekamp contributed to this story. He can be reached at seekamp22@up.edu.