TU mask mandate moves to “optional” masking in most settings

By: Jake Shindel, Editor-in-Chief, and Anna Hovet, Senior Editor
Photo by: Stephanie Samsel/ The Towerlight

Towson University (TU) announced on Feb. 28 that the university’s mask mandate will change from required to optional effective Mar. 1. Masks will only be required in healthcare settings, and places where preschoolers are on campus.

The announcement comes after TU chose to follow the “step-down” approach to COVID-19 protocols led by the University System of Maryland (USM). 

At the beginning of this semester, TU announced that KN95 masks will be required inside all academic buildings regardless of vaccine status. 

The updated protocol also means that those who are vaccine-exempt will be required to participate in once-weekly testing instead of the previously required twice-weekly testing, as well as the discontinuation of the Campus Clearance Tool and the COVID-19 dashboard effective Feb. 28. 

In an email sent out by TU’s COVID Response Leadership Team, they said that KN95 masks will continue to be distributed in West Village, the University Union, and academic departments. 

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced on Feb. 14 that Baltimore County would be lifting their mask mandate, effective Feb. 28. Towson University is within Baltimore County borders, but does not need to follow the guidelines set out by the county. 

On Feb. 14, the USM released a statement that gave individual institutions the power to “implement and adjust COVID mitigation strategies, as guided by the needs of its campus and community populations.” 

The University of Maryland (UMD) decided to lift their mask mandate, with the exception of classrooms, where KN95 masks will still be required. This announcement came on Feb. 25, posted on UMD’s 4Maryland website. 

TU followed up with a similar announcement shortly after, citing a positivity rate of less than 0.2%, as well as a vaccination rate of higher than 95%, according to the email.

“As throughout this pandemic, we expect Tigers to continue to show care for and support individuals who choose to continue voluntary mask-wearing in indoor spaces on campus,” the email read.  

To read the full announcement sent out by the University, click here.

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