UWO to lift mask mandate March 1


Advance-Titan File Photo — Masks will no longer be mandatory throughout campus on March 1.

Katie Pulvermacher, News Editor

UW Oshkosh will be lifting indoor mask requirements in most locations across campus, under the announcement of UW System President Tommy Thompson to help universities remove requirements as soon as March 1.

“I thank President Thompson, his administrative team and our students, faculty, staff and community partners for everything they have done to help UWO create the safe conditions that made today’s next-steps announcement possible,” Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said.

On March 1, masks will be lifted on all three campuses except in all classrooms and labs, COVID-19 testing and vaccination centers and the student health center on the Oshkosh campus.

While masks are not required, it is still recommended to wear them.

“I am encouraged by the level of vaccination and by the low case rates on our campuses,” Leavitt said. “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.”

Throughout the pandemic, UWO has been supported greatly. The UW System consistently shares recommendations and the Emergency Operations Committee (EOC) tracks COVID-19 trends and monitors the three campuses to ensure safety.

“The EOC continues to work closely with UW System leadership and, related to President Thompson’s announcement, offers the following localized recommendations,” Leavitt said. “I have discussed them with UWO shared governance leaders and subsequently accepted them.”

Thompson is working with other university chancellors to remove mask requirements by March 1 and no later than spring break.

“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.”

Thompson said COVID-19 will “likely be recurrent with some degree of ongoing transmission expected, possibly for several years or more.” Even as another variant has a great chance of spreading, at the state of vaccinations and low positivity rates, universities can remove restrictions for the time being.

As conditions permit, mask restrictions could be lifted entirely.

“Thank you for everything you continue to do, individually and collectively, to protect health and safety at UWO,” Leavitt said.

According to UWO’s COVID-19 dashboard, 74% of students and 78% of employees have reported that they are vaccinated. The seven-day aggregate positive test rate is 4.1% as of Feb. 17 with 23 active cases, all on the Oshkosh campus.