UP indoor mask mandate to be lifted Monday

Masks will stay on in classes and the HCC

By William Seekamp | March 18, 2022 11:19am
UP will lift their mask mandate Monday, March 21 everywhere except in class and the HCC.
Media Credit: Marek Corsello / The Beacon

UP will lift their mask mandate Monday, March 21 everywhere except in class and the HCC, Acting President and Provost Herbert Medina announced in an email Friday morning. 

About half of the 1,920 respondents to the masking survey sent to the UP community said they were in favor of lifting the mask mandate in every situation. The majority of faculty respondents were not in favor of lifting it in classrooms and in indoor UP spaces in general.

Canva by Brie Haro.

“As the Steering Committee reported last week, this recommendation is based on several factors, including the declining number of positive cases in Oregon, the low positivity rate (less than 3%), and the continuing decline in hospitalizations and case severity,” Medina said.

Masks will still be required for those who are not vaccinated, according to a previous email sent from the COVID-19 Steering Committee on March 10.

Faculty and staff in individual offices can require visitors to be masked.

A final decision on if commencement will be masked will be made in mid-April, based on the state of the pandemic.

For events like music festivals, campus speakers and admissions events, sponsoring departments can decide whether to require masks for events. Rock the Bluff will require masks.

“We ask that you please avoid speculating or making assumptions as to an individual’s reasons for wearing a mask,” Medina said. “We ask, also, that you kindly comply with the directives of staff or faculty who ask that you wear a mask in their offices, and at large-scale indoor events at which a mask requirement is in effect.”

As of March 15, 92.88% of the UP community is compliant with UP’s vaccine policy — COVID-19 vaccine and a booster when eligible or have a vaccine exemption — and the student body is 92.33% vaccinated. 

Although there have been 459 reported COVID-19 cases this semester, since Feb. 20 there have been fewer than 15 positive cases per week. 

This marks the second time since the start of the pandemic that UP has lifted its mask mandate. The first was last July when UP lifted the mask requirement for vaccinated individuals but reinstated it in early August because of the surging delta variant. 

“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, let’s tap into our community’s abundance of kindness, patience, and understanding,” Medina said. “Let’s assume good intentions of one another and demonstrate care and compassion for all who live, work, and study on The Bluff.”

William Seekamp is the News and Managing Editor of The Beacon. He can be reached at Seekamp22@up.edu