UWO not imposing mask mandate — for now


File photo by April Lee — Masks are currently not mandated on campus unless people are not vaccinated, but that ruling could change if COVID-19 cases continue to increase.

Submitted news

UW Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt and Police Chief Kurt Leibold  emailed the University community today, saying UWO is currently not imposing a mask mandate on campus, but that the decision could change as conditions change.

In their email, Leavitt and Leibold wrote:

“On Thursday, with COVID-19 cases starting to rise here, the Winnebago County Health Department issued a recommendation that people wear masks in all indoor settings throughout the county. This follows the Wisconsin Department of Administration’s issuance of a mask requirement for state employees earlier this week. UW System is not included in this requirement. Because of the regional nature of our campuses, decisions on COVID-19 protocols at this time have been left up to the individual universities.  

 “We remain in discussions with our health care partners, and at this time we are not imposing masks due to the low case count on campus and our ability, past and present, to address COVID-19. This may change in the future. If you are not vaccinated you must continue to wear a mask indoors and masks are required for all at the Student Health Center.  You may choose to wear a mask on our campuses even if you are vaccinated – and we encourage this.”

Leavitt and Leibold wrote that the UWO leadership and the Emergency Operations Committee daily monitor local conditions and consult with local and state health care partners to determine the best course of action for our University.

 “Through the pandemic, UWO has been recognized by the CDC and others for its ability to control the spread of the virus on our campuses through testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine, and vaccination,” they wrote. “Because of this proven track record, our continued attention to health and safety protocols, and the low population density on the Oshkosh campus, Doug Gieryn, Winnebago County Public Health director, has said he supports the University making its own decisions on masks and other COVID-19 measures.  

The county health department will continue to work closely with UWO to monitor COVID-19 as the start of the fall semester approaches.  

 “It is important to note that through the summer we have had only five positive COVID-19 cases: 1 was a camp participant; 3 are off-campus students; and 1 is an employee,” Leavitt and Leibold wrote. “Winnebago County and Fond du Lac County positive case numbers are a small fraction of where they were last fall. Healthcare officials tell us we may experience a surge this fall, but it will not be anything like we saw more than a year ago.”

They encouraged everyone to get vaccinated if they have not already done so. Find locations here.

For more information, see the Titans Return website.