COVID-19 cases declining call for a new mask mandate on campus

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Due to Gov. Inslees’ new mask mandate UWT has responded by removing outdoor masks while keeping indoor masks.

On Feb. 17, 2022 Governor Jay Inslee addressed the state in regards to the mask mandates in place. According to state data, COVID-19 cases are declining with current hospitalization rates at 13 per 100,000 people, igniting a new mandate.

“The good news is we are approaching a place fairly shortly where we will not have to be wearing masks generally in these conditions,” said Gov. Inslee, “We think this is good for our health and our education of our children and the total reopening of our economy.”

March 21 was initially the day the mask mandate would be lifted, however, in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the mandate will now be lifted on March 12. 

“We can do this because we are significantly declining the activity of the virus in our state, this is good news” said Gov. Inslee on Feb. 28.

As of March 12, Washington’s indoor mask mandate will expire for most public settings, with local governments still having the power to implement their own face masks or vaccination requirements. This will also apply to ending the mask mandate in schools. 

The mask mandate will be lifted in outdoor settings like restaurants, bars, schools, child care facilities, churches, gyms and grocery stores. Masks will still be required in health care facilities, such as hospitals and nursing homes, and outdoor spaces like public transportation, school buses and taxi services. 

On Feb. 22, 2022, Dr. Geoffrey Gottlieb, UW advisory committee on communicable diseases, announced that UW and UWT will no longer be requiring face masks for outdoor events or gatherings of 500 or more people, while indoor face masks will still be required in all facilities when other people are present; i.e. lobbies, stairways, bathrooms, elevators, classrooms and in shared vehicles. 

Effective March 1, vaccine verification will no longer be required for events or venues such as museums and theaters; however event organizers may still choose to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. 

Per Gov. Inslee’s indoor mask mandate ending on March 12, UW’s mask policies will be decided by the guidance that is received by King and Pierce county’s health departments. 

As of now, the indoor mask mandate at UWT will not be lifted before the ending of winter quarter. As the virus evolves, UW’s policies will adjust with it. 

To meet current required face mask policies at UWT, they must be snug around the face, covering from under the bridge of the nose down to the chin, tightening the loops around the ears if necessary.

More information regarding face covering policies at UWT can be found here at www.ehs.washington.edu/covid-19-prevention-and-response/face-covering-requirements.

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