UT, BGSU requiring masks indoors regardless of vaccination status

Owens Community College will require masks for all as well.
(Jack Bassett)
Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 11:38 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - As the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to rise in northwest Ohio, colleges and universities are rethinking their pandemic restrictions for the upcoming academic year. This week, the University of Toledo, Owens Community College and Bowling Green State University all announced that they would require masks in indoor campus settings regardless of vaccination status.

BGSU made the announcement Thursday night in an email from the university’s Chief Health Officer, Ben Batey, sent to students and staff. In the email, Batey, a public health expert and registered nurse, pointed to Wood County’s current virus numbers, which reached 54 per 100,000 people this week. The CDC’s definition of “significant spread” is 50 cases per 100,000 residents.

“Throughout the global pandemic, we had great cooperation in our campus community with health and safety protocols,” said Batey, in the email. “Face coverings are proven to be a small, but effective tool to slow the spread of COVID-19. The wearing of face coverings will allow BGSU to continue our plans for in-person indoor and outdoor events including Commencement, Fall Weeks of Welcome, sporting and arts events. We are asking you to do your part by wearing a face covering to keep our community healthy and safe, especially as we approach the start of the fall semester.”

UT’s administrators, meanwhile, made the announcement Friday morning, saying they were following recommendations from the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health. The university will also be expanding its COVID-19 surveillance testing program this fall, and offering rapid testing to all residential students.

Neither school is requiring students to receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines as a condition of enrollment, but both urged students to get the vaccine if they are physically able.

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