As we prepare for the fall semester and the excitement of welcoming you back to campus, we also continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation. I, like all of you, was hoping that this school year would look more like pre-pandemic years, but sharp increases in the Delta variant of COVID-19 are extremely concerning. This variant is highly contagious, spreading quickly in our communities, and causing an increase in breakthrough cases. With this information in mind, and based on the current health data, we are amending our on-campus guidance for face coverings to best support in-person instruction and on-campus activities.
Effective immediately, face coverings are required indoors for all individuals––regardless of vaccination status––unless alone in a private office, campus residence, or workspace. This on-campus face covering requirement for indoor spaces will be reviewed every two weeks and removed as the local situation improves. Our decision mirrors updated CDC guidance and is necessary to protect the health and safety of our entire campus community.
The University is not implementing any physical distancing requirements, and face coverings are not required when outside on any of our campuses.
I also want to reiterate a point I have previously made numerous times. The fastest, surest, and safest way that we can eliminate face covering requirements and return to pre-pandemic life is the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is safe, free, and widely available. I strongly encourage all students, faculty, and staff to get the vaccine. That is what is going to help us come back together as a community.
We have learned over the last 18 months that this is an ever-changing situation, and the University is prepared to be nimble in our response to COVID-19.