US universities and George Washington to reinstate indoor mask mandates

Universities in the United States and George Washington will reinstate their indoor mask mandates on Tuesday following an increase in coronavirus cases on campuses in the region.

The changes on both campuses follow optional short-term mask policies that offered students and faculty a taste of pre-pandemic normality. At GWU — where officials just a week ago decided to make “highly recommended” masks — the masking requirement will extend through the end of the semester, final exams and graduation. . At least 190 people have tested positive for the virus since the campus lifted its mandate on April 4.

UA saw a jump in cases after students returned from spring break on March 14, reporting 192 cases between that date and April 3, according to the most recent data available. Officials had decided to make masks optional in classrooms, dining rooms, dormitories and most other indoor spaces on March 21 before Monday’s announcement reinstating face coverings.

Georgetown and Johns Hopkins temporarily restore some covid measures

University leaders have said they will review the mask protocol by May 9. Graduation ceremonies are scheduled for May 7 and 8.

“We believe that the increase in transmission levels in the region will continue in the coming weeks. It is also likely that there will be further underreported cases due to more home testing,” UA officials said in an email to campus. They pointed to the school’s positivity rate – 2.23% as of April 5 – which is “increasing steadily”.

UA reported one coronavirus-related hospitalization during the spring semester, but leaders at both campuses said high vaccination and booster rates have largely protected their communities from serious infections. GWU and AU have reported vaccination rates of at least 98 percent.

The changes at AU and GW follow similar announcements elsewhere in the region. Last week, Georgetown University told students it would bring back its indoor mask mandate for the main and medical center campuses. Johns Hopkins University, which continued to mandate the use of face coverings in classrooms, reinstated mask policies in restaurants and common areas of residence halls. Undergraduate students at the Baltimore campus will also have to take tests twice a week until at least April 22, officials said Thursday.

Philadelphia brings indoor mask mandate back as covid cases rise

Across the DC area, coronavirus cases have been rising, but officials said last week they were not yet seeing spikes in severe illness.