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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

Masks

In light of significant declines of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and updated guidelines from the CDC, masks are optional for everyone at UNC.

*Masks are still required in healthcare settings, including the Student Health Center.

Face masks optional graphic

Respecting Others

Members within our university community are experiencing varying levels of comfort with the decision to make masks optional; particularly those who have underlying health issues, are immunocompromised and at higher risk of becoming very sick with COVID-19, or are living with someone who is at higher risk. Please be supportive and respectful of those who continue to wear masks. There are many good reasons why people may choose to do so! 

Individuals who are concerned about their personal protection are encouraged to select a high-quality, well-fitting mask, such as a KN95 or surgical mask.

KN95 and surgical masks are available for free at several locations across campus:

  • Michener Library 
  • Skinner Music Library 
  • University Center information desk 
  • University Center Bear Pantry
  • Holmes Dining Hall 
  • Kepner Hall dean's office
  • Gunter Hall dean's office
  • McKee Hall dean's office
  • Candelaria Hall room 0295
  • Guggenheim Hall room 103
  • Residence halls desks - Harrison, Wiebking, South and Arlington Park Apartments
  • Parsons Hall

FAQs About Masks

  • Why was the decision made to go mask optional?

    The decision to make masks optional is a result of the significant decline in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the state and country, and within our own university community, as well as updated guidance from the CDC indicating that healthy people are no longer required to wear masks in areas where there is a low or medium COVID-19 community level.

    While we are relaxing our mask policy, we are not letting our guard down and will continue with our other prevention efforts, including:

    • On-campus vaccination clinics: Through our partnership with the state, we continue to offer convenient opportunities to get vaccinated on campus by hosting Colorado's COVID-19 Mobile Vaccination Clinic. Check the COVID-9 vaccination webpage for clinic dates and times.
    • Free on-campus testing options: Our free community testing site, located on the east side of Bishop-Lehr Hall, remains open seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition, we offer free COVID-19 Rapid At-Home test kits for faculty, staff and students at several locations across campus. Check UNC's COVID-19 testing webpage for test kit locations.
    • Case investigation and contact tracing: UNC's COVID-19 Response Team will continue to investigate reported cases and exposures. UNC community members should still report exposures, symptoms and tests using the COVID-19 Report Form

    As we have throughout the pandemic, the university will continue to closely monitor guidance from federal, state and local public health officials and adapt our prevention efforts accordingly.

  • Can individuals require masks in their classrooms, personal workspaces or unit offices while UNC's mask-optional policy is in effect?

    No, but any person may choose to continue to wear a mask. 

    For those who are concerned about their personal protection, a high-quality, well-fitting mask, such as a KN95 mask, is recommended. 

    • Employees who believe they need special accommodations should contact Human Resources. 
    • Students who believe they need special accommodations should contact the Disability Resource Center
  • Are there places on campus where masks are still required?

    Yes, masks are still required in healthcare settings, including the Student Health Center, UNC’s Audiology Clinic, the Ben Nighthorse Campbell Cancer Rehabiliitation Center and the Athletics training room.

More About KN95 Masks

KN95 masks are designed to filter small particles from the air. When worn properly, they provide a higher level of protection compared to surgical-grade or cloth masks. Wearing a highly protective mask may be more important for people who are concerned about transmission, especially in higher-risk situations, or for people who are at increased risk of severe disease

KN95 masks can be reused with proper storage and handling. KN95 masks should never be washed.

  • When not in use, store your KN95 mask in a paper bag or let it hang in a cool, dry place, for a day or two before reusing it.
  • Discard your KN95 mask if it becomes loose, soiled or damaged.

Whichever Mask You Choose, Make Sure It Fits Correctly

While N95 or KN95 masks offer a higher level of protection, any mask is better than no mask. Whichever mask you choose, make sure it's  worn correctly and consistently for the best protection.

  • Choose a mask with two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric.
  • Make sure your mask covers your nose, mouth and chin.
  • Make sure your mask fits snugly against the sides of your face and doesn't have gaps.

Questions?

Please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

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