Boise State lifts campus mask mandate, excluding ‘teaching spaces’ – The Arbiter

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Masks will be optional in all administrative, sports, event and communal areas of the university from March 7. This includes the Albertsons Library, Recreation Center, Student Union Building (SUB), residence halls, and other buildings on campus.

However, masks will still be required in teaching spaces, research labs, academic health and counseling services, COVID testing center, vaccination clinic and isolation room, children’s center, any area where food is prepared and on campus public transportation.

This means that students will still be required to wear masks during classes, teaching labs, and any other space where teaching takes place.

Additionally, some events or indoor programs may still require masking depending on the requirements of the event sponsor.

If conditions continue to improve after March 7, university officials expect to lift the mask requirement in teaching spaces before the end of March.

In an email to faculty and staff on February 28, Vice President of University Affairs and Chief of Staff Alicia Estey said:

“I am happy to share that, thanks to your diligence and concern for others, our campus COVID positivity rate and case count has been steadily declining since mid-January. Last week our positivity rate was 0% and only 7 new cases were reported by people who tested off campus. This trend signifies a significantly reduced presence of COVID within our university community.

For those who still wish to mask up on campus, the university currently has a large number of KN95s available for free which can be picked up outside the Immunization Clinic, at Human Resources, or at the SUB Information Desk. .

“We recognize that many people have strong opinions about masking. Those who feel more comfortable wearing a mask in spaces where it is not required should do so, as should those who choose not to do so when it is not necessary. We expect all members of our campus community to respect the choices of others,” Estey wrote.

Early this semester, Boise State hit an all-time weekly high for COVID cases and positivity rate amid the omicron surge. Shortly after, campus COVID numbers set a new all-time high with 371 new cases reported in one week.

On January 31, Governor Little activated the Idaho National Guard in response to rising COVID numbers across the state. The Idaho Department of Health and Wellness (IDHW) has also crisis care standards activated in some health districts.

Since then, the state of Boise has seen a steady decline in the number of cases, with about 270 cases for the entire month of February, according to the university COVID tracking dashboard.

Ada County as a whole has seen a similar trend and subsequent decline, reaching a weekly high of 5,803 cases in mid-January to 324 cases for the week of February 20.

However, on Friday, February 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its prevention guidelines based on community case levels.

Ada County is currently categorized as “high”with the following recommendations:

  • Wear a mask indoors in public
  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines
  • Get tested if you have symptoms
  • Additional precautions may be needed for people at high risk of severe illness

Boise State Public Health will continue to provide testing, contact tracing, and actively monitor other COVID indicators, like sewage viral loads, “in hopes of further reducing the mask requirement.” as quickly as conditions permit,” according to Estey.

All members of the campus community who have concerns about catering should contact Human ressources (employees) or Public Health (students).
Public Health will update Boise State COVID Response Site in the coming weeks to reflect changing conditions. Questions or concerns related to the university’s COVID response can be directed to [email protected]

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