Beginning Wednesday, Miami University will now only require masks “in classrooms during instruction, laboratory or other research settings, and in healthcare settings,” according to the COVID Response Team.
The announcement came in a Wednesday, March 2 university-wide email. The team wrote that masks would be recommended in all other indoor spaces.
“We know that people have different levels of comfort regarding risk and masks, and we should each be sensitive to and respect differences of opinion on this topic,” the email read. “We have spent the better part of the last two years masked in public, and it will take time for some of us to feel comfortable reducing our use of masks.”
This is a change from Miami’s previous policy which required masks indoors in every location on campus.
However, the COVID Response Team wrote the change may not stay in place forever as COVID-19 rates change.
“We will continue to monitor the risk level in our community,” the email read. “There may be times when we move back to the high risk category and we will need to restore the full campus mask requirement for a time. Stay tuned here each week and we will communicate any change in our status.”
The change comes as Butler County is moved into a “medium risk” category according to the email, meaning that the county has fallen under 100 cases per 100,000 residents. Butler County is reporting a 7-day moving average of 90 cases per 100,000. The email also cites the CDC’s recent change in guidance over the mask policy as well.
The email said students can request visitors wear a mask if they feel more comfortable with that and gave them a sign students could print and hang where needed.
Student organizations meeting in person will not be required to wear masks according to Miami’s new guidelines.
“Since student organizations are optional in ways that classes are not, you are not required to wear masks in that setting,” the email read. “It is up to your organization to decide.”
Miami has updated its website to include a new mask policy FAQ.
As of Feb. 28, Miami’s COVID Dashboard reported four new daily cases for students with a 7-day moving average of four cases reported.
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This story will continue to be updated as The Miami Student receives more information.