After nearly two years, some Oregon universities are ending face mask requirements on their campuses.
Oregon State University, Portland State University and the University of Oregon announced Thursday they will lift campus mask mandates later this month. The private Willamette University made a similar announcement earlier this week.
Both OSU and Willamette will lift their mandates on March 12, following the lead of the state which is lifting its mask requirements for indoor public spaces and schools after March 11.
“As OSU has done throughout the pandemic, we will remain aligned with OHA and guidance provided by local public health authorities,” Dan Larson, OSU’s coronavirus response coordinator, said in a statement. “We will continue to make decisions guided by expert advice while ensuring vulnerable members of our community have the tools they need to increase their level of protection.”
Face masks will still be required at some campus locations. Places requiring masks include health care settings such as student health centers, due to federal and state rules.
Portland State and UO will be lifting their campus mask requirements on March 19 — a week after the statewide mandate ends and at the end of winter term. PSU said that date was chosen to “avoid operational disruptions at the end of the term.”
The universities all noted that face masks are still welcomed on campus.
“As we shift into the next phase of our response to COVID-19, we understand that some in our community may feel more comfortable continuing to wear a mask. That is a personal decision that we wholeheartedly support,” PSU’s Incident Management Team wrote in a message to the campus community Thursday. “We ask that our community respect the choice of colleagues and students who keep their masks on. We also respectfully request that faculty, staff and students refrain from asking students or colleagues to wear a mask.”
Other universities have not yet released plans to end mask requirements.