OSU to lift mask mandate requirements no later than March 19

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Jason May, Photographer

Oregon State University students Makena Apau, left, and Ethan Thompson are wearing masks as they walk out of the Learning Innovation Center on the Corvallis, Ore. campus on Jan. 31. OSU announced on Feb. 24 that it will lift its mask mandate by March 19 at the latest.

Kelsy Valentine, Campus Editor

Oregon State University has announced that it will lift the campus-wide mask requirement no later than March 19 to remain aligned with Oregon Health Authority and local public health guidance.

According to a press release sent out to students on Feb. 24 by Dan Larson, the vice provost for Student Affairs and OSU coronavirus response coordinator, OHA will lift mask mandates in Oregon no later than March 19 because of significant declines in hospitalizations with the virus, and new infections declining by at least 80% in recent weeks.

“We understand that for some this will be a challenging and concerning change,” the press release stated. “Our goal is to continue making decisions guided by expert advice, while ensuring vulnerable members of our community have the tools they need to increase their level of protection.”

OSU will also soon be hosting an online informational session to answer questions and give guidance to community members, with the time and date to be announced through the OSU Today newsletter and other forums. The informational session will feature public health authorities and infectious disease experts. 

According to the press release, community members are still encouraged to respect the wishes of anyone who chooses to continue wearing a mask and to stay home if feeling unwell or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. 

The press release also stated OHA highly recommends people at higher risk—those who are unvaccinated, immunocompromised, have underlying health conditions, are 65 years or older or live with someone who is at higher risk—continue to wear a well-fitting mask for increased protection.

OSU community members also still need to abide by the OSU vaccination program, which requires all students to either receive their booster shots no later than May 1 or claim an exemption for the vaccines.