As K-12 school districts and local government officials began rolling back their indoor masking mandates, so did colleges and universities in Greater Columbus.
Fewer COVID-19 cases after this winter’s omicron surge, high vaccination rates among students, and the removal of mask mandates in the cities where they are are just some of the variables prompting colleges and Ohio universities to remove mask mandates on campuses.
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Here is an overview of what some colleges and universities in Greater Columbus require:
As of Tuesday, Capital University no longer has a mask mandate on its Bexley campus or its downtown Columbus Law School campus, regardless of vaccination status, the university announced.
Healthcare facilities like the Health and Wellness Center and the Athletic Training Room should always be masked. People exposed to COVID-19, in isolation or quarantine, should also always follow masking protocols.
Unless exempt, unvaccinated students and employees must still take weekly COVID-19 tests until April 29.
Related: The Columbus mask mandate is over: What to know about mask policies in schools, theaters and businesses
Central Ohio Technical College
According to the school’s website, faculty, staff, students and visitors to all Central Ohio Technical College campuses should always wear masks indoors, regardless of their immunization status.
Masks are mandatory outdoors for unvaccinated people when they cannot maintain social distancing. Vaccinated people are not required to wear a mask outside.
Columbus State Community College
In a message sent to students and staff on Monday, Columbus State Community College announced that indoor masking will no longer be required after March 14.
The message states that the campus community will respect the personal decisions of students, faculty and staff members regarding mask wearing.
Masks and sanitizer will still be stocked on campus, and students enrolled in in-person classes should continue to complete the university’s health assessment before arriving on campus, according to the two-year college.
Continued: As schools drop mask mandates, some health experts wonder if it’s too soon
Denison University in Granville ended its mask mandate for vaccinated people on Sunday.
Unvaccinated students, staff and faculty should continue to wear masks on campus, according to a March 2 message from Denison President Adam Weinberg.
But the private liberal arts college is giving faculty and staff the ability to mandate masks in certain areas, Weinberg said.
“This means professors will continue to have the right to require masks in their classrooms, labs, offices and other workspaces,” Weinberg wrote. “Staff will also have the right to ask people to wear a mask while in their workspaces.”
The university reported that 100% of faculty, 99% of students and 95% of staff are fully vaccinated.
Face masks are no longer required on the Franklin University campus along Grant Avenue in downtown Columbus starting Monday, according to the school’s website. The university has also resumed regular activities there.
Effective March 2, Kenyon College moved to a Campus Activity Level 0, which eliminated the college’s indoor mask requirement.
Masks are only required in indoor public spaces for people recently exposed to COVID-19 or recently recovered from the virus.
Masks may be required in specific, demarcated private spaces, including but not limited to: classrooms, studios, and labs, at the discretion of the instructor; offices and conference rooms, at the discretion of the occupant, supervisor or host; private student residential spaces, with the consensus of all occupants; and certain reception and assembly areas, such as the Cox Health & Counseling Center.
Dominican University of Ohio
The Ohio Dominican University ended its masking mandate on February 28 for all members of the campus community, including students and employees. Although not mandatory, the private Catholic university notes that masking is encouraged in close contact situations.
The university, located off Sunbury Road just west of Interstate 670 in the East Side neighborhood of Teakwood, has reported no active cases of COVID-19 as of March 2.
Ohio State University
Beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, wearing face masks will be optional in most Ohio State campus settings, the university announced Tuesday. The move coincides with spring break.
“Throughout the pandemic, the university followed the advice of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health as well as federal, state and local policy,” according to a statement. of the University.
The optional mask policy applies to general purpose buildings, residence halls, dining halls, classrooms, offices and the Ohio Union. Masks are also optional outdoors.
Masks are still required on CABS buses, in clinical health care facilities like Wexner Medical Center, at COVID-19 testing locations, and in daycares.
Public events, such as those taking place at the Schottenstein Center and the Covelli Center, are also optionally hidden from Wednesday.
Continued: Columbus’ mask mandate was quickly erased on Monday, but the federal COTA bus mandate remains
As of March 1, masks are no longer required in most public non-classroom spaces on Ohio University campuses located in counties with low or medium risk COVID-19 community levels, as determined by the CDC, according to a university press release.
Currently, all OU campuses are in counties with low or medium COVID community levels, with the exception of Chillicothe and South campuses, where masks are still required. Students, faculty, and staff at the Cleveland campus should note that the Cleveland Clinic still requires masking in public places.
Masks are also still required in OU classrooms, labs, studios, and clinics as well as on-campus transportation, regardless of COVID-19 community level. The Ohio University Child Development Center will also continue to require masks.
Individual on-campus events may have additional masking requirements depending on policies in place with participating organizations or contracted artists.
Ohio Wesleyan University
In a message to students on Feb. 28, Ohio Wesleyan President Rock Jones said the university was no longer enforcing its indoor mask mandate.
Masks are not required to be worn on campus by anyone at the Delaware School of Liberal Arts, including visitors. However, faculty members can still require face masks to be worn in their individual classrooms.
In addition to changing the mask requirement, OWU also lifted its 100-person limit for indoor gatherings, and food is now allowed to be served at indoor events without COVID-related restrictions.
“Despite these changes, please note that we understand that individuals and families may have unique concerns and, therefore, strongly support anyone’s decision to wear a mask at all times,” Jones wrote.
University of Otterbein
Otterbein ended its indoor masking requirement for students, employees and visitors on February 28. Masks are now optional for everyone on campus, regardless of their vaccination status.
The private Westerville University will still require all unvaccinated students and employees with exemptions — about 3% of the campus community — to be tested weekly through May 1.
Although individuals are no longer required to wear masks on campus, Otterbein said in a press release that people are still encouraged to wear one if they wish.
“Otterbein is a mask-friendly campus. We support those who choose to continue wearing a mask or who are required to wear a mask due to health concerns,” the website says.