University announces plans to lift campus-wide indoor mask mandate

OU+has+announced+its+plan+to+lift+the+campus-wide+indoor+mask+mandate+on+March+20.

Maggie Willard

OU has announced its plan to lift the campus-wide indoor mask mandate on March 20.

Jeff Thomas, Editor-in-Chief

This afternoon the university announced that effective Sunday, March 20, the campus-wide indoor mask mandate will be lifted. From that point forward, masks will only be required in classrooms, laboratories, patient care areas of Graham Health Center and certain other areas deemed “non-conducive to social distancing practices.”

The announcement was relayed to the campus community via the following Campus Communications email:

Effective on Sunday, March 20, Oakland University will no longer require face mask usage except in designated areas including classrooms, laboratories, patient care areas of Graham Health Center and other non-academic spaces determined to be non-conducive to social distancing practices. Mask usage will also continue to be required as part of the university’s isolation and quarantine guidelines.

Campus community members and visitors will also no longer be required to complete daily health screenings before coming onto campus. Those experiencing any signs or symptoms of illness are advised not come to campus and get to tested for COVID-19. All positive cases of COVID-19 must be reported via the Graham Health Center Secure Patient Portal or by emailing to [email protected]

Kresge Library, the Oakland Center and the Recreation Center will no longer have building-wide mask use requirements, but may maintain them in some offices, enclosed meeting spaces and other areas where increased risk of COVID-19 transmission persists. Mask usage guidelines will be clearly posted in all such areas on campus.

Employees concerned about virus transmission in workspaces should discuss the issue with their supervisors. Faculty members with health concerns related to teaching in-person should contact their dean to discuss an alternative work arrangement.

The university continues to support all campus community members and visitors choosing to wear mask while indoors. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that individuals at risk for severe illness, as well as those who live with such individuals, wear masks while indoors in public spaces.

Campus community members are advised that university infection prevention guidelines may be revised at any time in response to evolving COVID-19 pandemic conditions, including the emergence and spread of new variants of the virus.

OU lifting its campus-wide indoor mask mandate comes on the heels of University of Michigan’s announcement that they’d be taking similar actions earlier this week.

A recent survey on the mask mandate hosted by Oakland University Student Congress and The Post, which received over 1,000 student responses, revealed that the student body is relatively split on the mask mandate issue.

New COVID-19 cases have declined in the area from the massive surge of the Omicron Variant that caused the beginning of the winter semester to be moved online

The possibility of lifting the mandate was first discussed seriously during the Feb. 17 University Senate meeting. The March 20 date for lifting the mandate was likely designated because it is two weeks after winter break when many students would have left the campus and possibly been at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure.