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UConn reinstates masking policy as statewide and campus COVID-19 rates grow

A University of Connecticut report found students aren’t familiar enough with what resources to use and don’t trust the resources they are familiar with, such as going to administrators or police.
Mark Mirko
/
Connecticut Public
A University of Connecticut report found students aren’t familiar enough with what resources to use and don’t trust the resources they are familiar with, such as going to administrators or police.

Students, employees and visitors at UConn’s Storrs and regional campuses will again have to don masks beginning Monday.

In a notice to community members Friday, university officials said they are reinstating masking requirements through the rest of the semester due to the rising number of new COVID-19 cases statewide, as well as on its campuses.

“The goal of this decision is to protect health on our campuses and to help ensure that the remaining weeks of the semester and UConn’s commencement ceremonies can be conducted in-person,” wrote Carl Lejuez, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and Eleanor JB Daugherty, dean of students and associate vice president for student affairs.

“A widespread outbreak that overwhelms university health services and available isolation space could potentially disrupt both,” they said.

Masks will be required in indoor instructional settings and workspaces, like classrooms, labs, studios, rehearsal rooms, clinics and employee areas. Masks will also need to be worn at indoor events with more than 100 people.

The policy will be in place through the end of the semester and final exams.

The change is a reversal of the university’s move to relax its mask mandate in classrooms earlier this month, and broader mask requirements in March.

“When the university relaxed masking requirements in March, and then again earlier this month, the COVID-19 positivity rate in Connecticut was consistently low at about 2%,” officials said. “During the month of March and prior to that, the number of positive cases among students was also consistently low.”

Connecticut’s positivity rate was 6.5% as of Friday, according to the state Department of Public Health.

UConn recorded 150 new positive cases among students, on and off campus, during the latest seven-day reporting period.

Nicole Leonard joined Connecticut Public Radio to cover health care after several years of reporting for newspapers. In her native state of New Jersey, she covered medical and behavioral health care, as well as arts and culture, for The Press of Atlantic City. Her work on stories about domestic violence and childhood food insecurity won awards from the New Jersey Press Association.

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