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As COVID wanes, UConn relaxes mask mandate

Jimmy Emerson
Creative Commons

Citing consistently low COVID-19 case rates across all campuses and throughout the state, the University of Connecticut announced that it will be changing its mask policy from “required” to “recommended” in most campus settings beginning Friday.

Students, faculty, staff and visitors will still be required to wear masks in classes, labs, studios, rehearsal rooms, and clinics at UConn’s campuses through April 1, when the university will reevaluate the policy.

“While this change means masks will not be required in most settings, the university still recommends wearing them on our campuses,” UConn Interim President Radenka Maric, Provost Carl Lejuez, and Dean of Students Eleanor JB Daugherty said in a joint statement to students, faculty and staff.

“We also strongly encourage each member of the UConn community to continue to be flexible and courteous when it comes to masking,” the university leaders added. “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.”

As of Wednesday, 0.39% of the residential students at the Storrs campus tested positive for COVID-19, and the Stamford campus reported no cases among residential students. Both campuses also reported that 98% of its residential students are fully or partially vaccinated.

In addition to UConn relaxing its mask policies around campus, UConn Athletics announced that vaccine and testing requirements will be lifted “effective immediately” for people attending games at Gampel Pavilion and the XL Center. Masks for games at both locations will also be recommended instead of required, according to UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz.

“The University’s decision to stop requiring proof of vaccination or testing at athletics events reflects state and federal determinations of low risk in our region,” Reitz said. “Like other non-academic settings, UConn will still recommend wearing masks in Gampel and the XL Center, although they will no longer be required.”

Connecticut State Colleges and Universities spokesperson Leigh Appleby said masks are still required on campuses throughout the CSCU system.

“We’re meeting with our campus leaders and COVID coordinators, and with DPH, and expect to have some announcements in the next few days,” Appleby said.

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