Kent State reinstates indoor mask requirement at Cuyahoga County campuses

Kennedy Gotham, Reporter

All Kent State-affiliated locations within Cuyahoga County will have an indoor face mask requirement due to a “high” community level designation for COVID-19, according to an email sent by the university Friday. This includes Kent State’s College of Podiatric Medicine, Cleveland Foot and Ankle Clinic and the Urban Design Collaborative. Masks and face coverings will not be required when an individual is working alone in a confined space.

The decision comes five days after Kent State’s Ashtabula campus reinstated its indoor mask mandate due to Ashtabula County’s “high” COVID-19 designation.

The CDC collects data from “new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population in the past 7 days, the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and total new COVID-19 cased per 100,000 population in the past 7 days,” and with this data, the CDC classifies countries into categories of low, medium or high.

According to the CDC, “if the area has fewer than 200 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the past 7 days”:

  • “Low” designation: <10.0
  • “Medium” designation: 10.0-19.9
  • “High” designation: ≥ 20.0

The university’s email recommended following CDC guidelines for communities considered at the “high” level.

“Wear a mask indoors in public. Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Get tested if you show any virus symptoms. Those at high risk for severe illnesses may want to take additional safety precautions,” the email said.

The email also said Summit County has increased from “low” to “medium” and Portage, Trumbull and Geauga counties remain at “medium.”

“We will continue to monitor COVID-19 case levels in all the counties where we have campuses or locations and will adjust our requirements and recommendations as needed to address community levels of the virus,” the email said. “Kent State will always make the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff our top priority as we strive to provide a healthy and safe environment to live, learn and work.”

Kennedy Gotham is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].