Kent State eliminates mask requirement regardless of CDC community level, adjusts quarantine policy

Emma Andrus, Editor-in-Chief

Kent State will no longer require masks and face coverings to be worn on its campuses and locations, regardless of the CDC’s community level for COVID-19

The university announced the adjusted policy in an email to the university community on Wednesday afternoon. 

Previously, the university followed the CDC’s community level guidelines for COVID-19 as a basis for their mask policy and requirements. If a county was labeled under a “high” community-level ranking, the university required masks to be worn in indoor settings. 

Though masks are no longer required in the case of a high community level, the university said “face masks are highly recommended.” 

The university made the decision after reviewing current CDC guidance and consulting with local health experts, according to the email. 

“We believe this change aligns with the CDC’s new recommended guidelines, which are based on high levels of immunity created by both vaccines and immunity from those who have recovered from the COVID-19 virus,” the email said. “Combined with the availability of effective treatments for the virus, we have confidence the potential strain on our healthcare system is now minimal.”

Face masks are still required in all healthcare facilities on all of Kent State’s locations and campuses.

As an additional change to the university’s COVID-19 policy, “quarantining is no longer required for those who are exposed to someone with COVID-19 regardless of vaccination status,” the email said. 

Previously, students living on campus directly exposed as close contacts with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19 were asked to isolate in a quarantine room. 

Students who test positive for COVID-19 are still required to spend time in isolation rooms on campus. Though, according to the email, students who test positive on day six can return to their residence hall “following five days of isolation and improved symptoms” and “provided they continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others through day 10.” 

The university will still provide masks and at-home testing kits at all campuses, and COVID-19 vaccines and boosters remain available at DeWeese Health Center. The university’s COVID-19 dashboard will continue to be updated on a weekly-basis.

“Please understand that we may require indoor masks again should a new, more severe COVID-19 variant emerge, if the number of COVID-19 cases in our community spikes or if our hospital systems become overwhelmed with cases,” the email said. 

Emma Andrus is editor-in-chief. Contact her at [email protected].