Central Michigan University updates mask policy as COVID-19 cases drop

MT. PLEASANT, MI – Central Michigan University released a new set of masking guidelines based on updated guidance from the CDC and state leaders as COVID-19 cases continue to trend downwards. The announcement was made in an email letter sent from CMU president Bob Davies on Friday, March 18. The campus has seen a low number of cases and in the community, according to Davies’ email.

Under the changes, masks will continue to be required in indoor classrooms and instructional spaces. This includes any indoor areas where faculty or instructors are teaching students or collaborative research is taking place. According to the email, this can include but is not limited to classrooms, laboratories, studios and clinical spaces.

However, masks are now optional in all other indoor and outdoor areas of campus, except where mandated by state or federal regulations such as health clinics and patient care spaces.

“These changes will affect everyone differently,” said Davies. “This shift may feel too soon for some members of our community, while others may feel it did not come soon enough. Some individuals may still feel uncertain about their safety, while others will celebrate the chance to remove their masks.”

According to Davies, the administration at CMU decided to wait until one full week after returning from break to assess the situation before they decided on the updates. Conversations were held about the possibility of changing the mask policy with several stakeholder groups, said Davies, which included formal exchanges with representatives of student, faculty and staff groups, as well as informal exchanges with individual students, faculty and staff.

CMU will still require weekly testing for unvaccinated individuals. Those who have not received the vaccine or have not updated their vaccination or booster status must be tested weekly and individuals who fail to be tested will face penalties, according to the email.

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