University of Guelph Pauses Mask Mandates as of July 1

The number of mandatory masking spaces in Guelph continues to grow smaller, and it will draw considerably smaller again on Canada Day when the University of Guelph ends all its masking mandates. Once delayed by the U of G administration, the masks will be able to finally come off while people are indoors on campus, but it comes with a caveat that masks might need to go back on sometime in the future.

“The University of Guelph will pause its mask requirement as of July 1, with masks no longer required indoors or outdoors at all U of G facilities,” said a media release from the U of G Monday morning. “After July 1, many U of G community members and visitors may still choose to wear a mask while on campus. People are encouraged to support one another’s decisions and remember that each person’s situation is unique.”

The media release noted that this decision is in line with the direction of public health authorities across Ontario for learning spaces like elementary schools and high schools, but those mask mandates ended in March. The University of Guelph had originally announced that they would keep mask mandates in place until the end of the winter semester in April, but a couple of weeks before the May 1 deadline, the administration announced that they would remain in place indefinitely.

“We will review our mask requirement regularly, taking into consideration changing public health trends. An update will be provided when our mask requirement changes. As we have seen with transmission peaks and valleys over the past two years, we can expect that the University’s mask requirements will vary over time,” said U of G president Charlotte Yates and vice-president (academic) Gwen Chapman in a joint statement on April 15.

Now, like then, the U of G admin says that community conditions could change in the future, and that people planning to visit campus after July 1 should still stay away if they’re feeling sick.

“The University reminds the U of G community and visitors that with the pausing of the masking requirement, the need for self-monitoring becomes even more important. Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 is encouraged to stay home, test and take other appropriate actions,” the statement read.

It’s worth noting that convocation festivities ended last week, so campus will be mostly a ghost town until the end of August as things ramp up for the fall semester.

In the rest of Guelph right now, the latest numbers from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health posted last Wednesday show 94 current active cases in the region, while the 7-day moving rate is down to 22.1 per 100,00 and the test positivity rate is 6.5 per cent. At this time in 2021 there were 65 active cases while the 7-day rate was 16.7 per 100,000 and the test positivity rate is 2.6 per cent.

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