UConn loosens mask restrictions

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The University of Connecticut’s Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Eleanor JB Daugherty announced in an email Thursday morning that starting Friday, March 4, masks will now only be “recommended” in nearly all settings on all campuses. Masks have been required since the start of the semester.

In a follow up email sent a few hours later, Daugherty clarified this means UConn will in fact be moving to yellow level.

“Effective March 4, it’s your choice now. We are moving to yellow,” Daugherty said. “Masking will be recommended but only required in classrooms. As you consider what choice to make, I would advise you that it is my hope that you continue to think of others as you have all this time. Indoor settings with folks interacting closely with one another creates increased risk of spread. Please think about masking during those times. There is as strong a voice asking me to continue masking on campus as there is asking me to reconsider.” 

Daughtery continued by clarifying the new guidelines for students, stating exceptions and new guidelines for attendance at UConn games. 

“This applies to students, employees, and visitors on all UConn campuses and property other than UConn Health locations, Student Health and Wellness medical care in Storrs, von der Mehden Recital Hall, and the Connecticut Repertory Theatre,” Daughtery added. “UConn activities such as classes or events that are hosted in spaces other than UConn property should follow the guidelines of the host facility. In addition, UConn Athletics is also lifting its vaccination/testing requirements for fans attending games at Gampel Pavilion and the XL Center, effective immediately.” 

The factors that contributed to the decision were consistently low COVID-19 positivity rates and high vaccination rates on all campuses, consistently low positivity rates across the state, and new CDC guidelines announced last week. Starting this week, Connecticut also no longer requires masks to enter state buildings. 

Treatment for students with COVID-19 and the designated close contact system will remain in place. Masks will still be required in some areas as well. 

“Masking will continue to be required in all instructional settings, including classes, labs, studios, rehearsal rooms, and clinics, through at least April 1, 2022, when the University will reevaluate this. Please note that federal guidelines mandate masking on public transportation at least through March 18, 2022. Please continue to wear a mask on state, UConn, and WRTD buses.” 

The University of Connecticut’s Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Eleanor JB Daugherty

Daugherty added that while masks are no longer required, they are still recommended.

“While this change means masks will not be required in most settings, the university still recommends wearing them on our campuses,” Daugherty said in her follow-up email. “We also strongly encourage each member of the UConn community to continue to be flexible and courteous when it comes to masking. Please always carry a mask with you in the event you are asked to wear it in certain close settings, such as individual or small group meetings. Members of the community will be at varying stages of comfort with mask wearing and we want to be respectful of others.” 

Daugherty recommended that students still carry a mask on them at all times. She also noted that the new mask policy is subject to change, depending on if the University experiences any more outbreaks in the future. 

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