UW System set to end mask mandate by March 1

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Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 9:01 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2022 at 12:48 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - The University of Wisconsin System is working to end masking requirements on campuses.

Outgoing System President Tommy Thompson is working the chancellors with the goal of ending the mask mandate by March 1. That’s includes UW-Green Bay and UW Oshkosh.

Thompson says COVID-19 cases are down in campus communities and there’s widespread vaccination.

“Wisconsin has one of the fastest rates of coronavirus decline in the country,” Thompson said. “While we will continue to take prudent prevention measures when warranted, restrictions can be lifted as case counts drop. Further, vaccinations and boosters are readily available to combat the virus that is much less severe for people who take this individual responsibility to protect themselves and others.”

Vaccines and tests will continue to be available on campus. Students and staff can wear masks if they so choose.

“Our students have been terrific for the last two years in demonstrating a culture of responsibility,” Thompson said. “We have worked relentlessly to instill in them the need to protect themselves and those around them. Students should be able to cheer on sports teams, attend concerts and performances, and go to classes without masks when the conditions are right.”

UWGB’s mask mandate ends on March 1. Campus officials released the following to students and staff:

  • The mask mandate is still in place until March 1 and should be followed. We need to allow the numbers to continue to come down to ensure we do not jeopardize the direction we are headed in for the near future.
  • I beg you to continue to have compassion for each other. This spirit is who we are as Phoenix. There are still people who are at significant risk if they contract COVID. If someone that is required to be around you asks you to wear a mask in their presence, I ask that you do your best to honor their wishes. Today’s decision does not ban masks, but allows for personal choices to be made regarding the precautions each of us will take moving forward.
  • If the trajectory of the pandemic changes, we will reconsider our protocols, just as we have done throughout the last few years.

UWO says it will lift indoor mask requirements on all three campuses, except in classrooms and a few other places, on March 1. Masks will be required in all classrooms and labs, the COVID-19 testing and vaccination centers and the Student Health Center on campus.

“I am encouraged by the level of vaccination and by the low case rates on our campuses,” said UW Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt. “As we continue to lift mask requirements, you are encouraged to continue wearing a mask, particularly if you have individual health concerns or concerns for vulnerable family members and friends. We respect the individual decisions peers and colleagues will make.”

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