Loyola Eases Mask Policy Following Low COVID-19 Rates

Zack Miller | The PhoenixLow COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations have caused Loyola to ease mask requirements in public spaces, such as Damen Student Center, residence halls and campus recreational activities.

Masks will no longer be required in student gathering spaces on Loyola’s campuses, but will still be required in health and transit facilities, as well as in the classroom according to a March 11 email from the Office of the President at Loyola.

The email said masks will no longer be required in student gathering spaces such as dining halls and libraries, nor will they be required in student organization meetings, office spaces or residence halls.

The new policy will take effect on March 14 and applies to every student, guest and faculty member regardless of vaccination status, the email said. Additionally, if someone comes in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, they will not be required to wear a mask under this policy, though it is strongly encouraged.

Masks will remain required in the Wellness Center and other healthcare settings, along with campus transportation and classrooms and instructional labs. The Student Accomodation Center (SAC) will also require masking in its spaces. 

“In keeping with the requirement for masks to be worn in classrooms and instructional labs, SAC will also require masks to be worn in all testing rooms and office spaces on all campuses,” the SAC said in an email. 

Chicago experienced a large spike in COVID-19 cases in the month of January, but has been on a steady downward slope since, according to Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. This downward slope — which is also reflected in the student testing data as reported by Loyola— is why Loyola revised its mask policy, the email said. 

The City of Chicago also reversed its mask mandate Feb. 28, and similar to Loyola, had kept masks required on public transit and health care settings in alignment with federal and CDC guidance. 

This story is breaking and will be updated with more information as it’s released.

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