University Changing Mask Requirement on March 21

The following was emailed to all Duquesne University students and employees today.

Dear Duquesne University campus community,

On Friday, March 4, you all received a message letting you know that the University was considering a change to its mask policy in light of the CDC's updated COVID-19 guidance. As was stated in that email, the CDC's new guidance is based on community transmission levels, using three tiers (high, medium and low) as indicators for when masking is necessary.

Duquesne's Health and Safety Committee received input from representative groups of faculty, staff and students and considered their suggestions. An overwhelming majority supported the University dropping a masking requirement if the conditions were right.

Now, transmission levels are low in our region and very low on campus. I've been informed by our Health Services professionals that the testing following spring break has yielded no positive cases, either in symptomatic individuals for whom cold or flu was the source of symptoms or in surveillance testing of asymptomatic individuals.

In light of those favorable circumstances, Duquesne will no longer require that masks be worn indoors, starting Monday, March 21, 2022. The only exceptions may occur in cases where individual faculty members decide to require masks in classes based on safety in the context of class needs for interaction in a limited physical space or other specific concerns related to conducting their own classes.

If circumstances change sufficiently, or Allegheny County changes its policies, the University could return to a mask requirement. For the remainder of the semester, we will be in regular contact with local and state health officials. The University's Health and Safety Committee will follow available data to advise if any policy changes are needed due to increased transmission rates or the emergence of any sufficiently threatening variant.

While the University will no longer require them, some people will choose to continue wearing a mask. I ask that we all respect each individual's decision whether to wear a mask. People may choose to wear a mask for many reasons: they may spend time with young unvaccinated children; they may live with an immunocompromised person; they may spend time with a person who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons; or they may want an extra layer of protection, among other reasons.

For those who want them, masks remain available, and unvaccinated and vulnerable individuals are strongly encouraged to continue to wear masks. If you develop symptoms, do not go to class or to in-person work, get tested and wear a mask until you have negative results.

We've all come quite a long way to arrive at this point. It's wonderful to be able to relax some protections and finish the academic year on a more positive note-something we've hoped would happen for a long time. I'm reminded yet again of the power of our Duquesne community when we work together to overcome the adversities that we've faced. Thank you all for the dedication and respect you've shown for one another. Best wishes for a successful and positive completion of the spring semester!  

With warm regards,

Ken Gormley, President

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University’s academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

It's time for bigger goals
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