Due to the increased transmission of the highly infectious Delta variant, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising across the U.S., including in Colorado and Weld County. UNC, with support from the Weld County Health Department, will return to requiring masks covering the nose and mouth in public indoor spaces beginning Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. This applies to all individuals regardless of vaccination status.
The requirement for indoor masking aligns with updated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is a temporary precaution during the Delta variant surge. In addition to UNC’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement, masking provides another strategy to protect the health and safety of all Bears and allows for a return to in-person courses and activities on campus.
University officials continue to consult regularly with state and local public health officials and monitor disease transmission levels in our community. We are prepared to modify our indoor mask policy based on a variety of public health factors, including CDC recommendations and the level of COVID-19 transmission in Weld County. We will keep our university community informed of any changes.
- Masks covering the nose and mouth are required in all publicly accessible indoor spaces on campus. All individuals—including visitors and contractors—are required to wear a face covering when in classrooms, laboratories, open-plan workspaces and other indoor spaces, including the library.
- Limited exceptions to this requirement are outlined below.
- Public health officials strongly recommend all unvaccinated individuals or those who are not fully vaccinated wear a face covering in both public and non-public indoor spaces whenever possible.
- Anyone who feels more comfortable wearing a mask is encouraged to do so even in settings in which masks are not required.
- Residence halls and university-owned houses or apartments are not subject to this requirement.
- Faculty and staff alone in their offices are not required to wear masks.
- Individuals performing any of the following activities are exempt from the campus
indoor face covering requirement while such activity is being performed:
- Individuals who are fully vaccinated and engaged in indoor instructional activity or laboratory work and can maintain at least 6 feet from the nearest person.
- Individuals who are engaged in an instructional activity or laboratory work under circumstances where wearing a face covering would significantly impede their ability to effectively perform the activity or work, such as playing a musical instrument or engaging in vocal performance.
- UNC student-athletes and participants in organized recreational sports who are actively engaged in practice or competition. This includes students actively participating in indoor sports activity classes, such as group fitness, basketball and volleyball.
- Individuals actively eating or drinking are exempt from this requirement.
- Individuals who are asked to temporarily remove their face covering for identification purposes as part of a particular service requiring legal identification may do so.
- Individuals who are actively engaged in a public safety role, such as law enforcement personnel, firefighters or emergency medical personnel, are exempt from this requirement.
- Children under 2 years old.
UNC Environmental Health and Safety will be responsible for determining which activities and work, as well as the circumstances under which they may be performed, are permitted under these exceptions and will review requests for variances beyond the conditions stated above.
We know there are individuals who may not be supportive of this decision, just as we know there are individuals who are relieved the university is taking this step —particularly those who cannot get vaccinated, are immunocompromised or live or work with people who are immunocompromised or cannot be vaccinated. We ask all Bears to display compassion and respect for each other as we continue to navigate this pandemic together.
As stated in our Aug. 9 Special COVID-19 Digest, UNC is continuing with its vaccination requirement policy deadline of Aug. 15, 2021, without waiting for any further action by the FDA. The university’s easily accessible and straightforward exemption process remains unchanged.
We urge students, faculty and staff who intend to get vaccinated to receive their first shot as soon as possible. A broadly vaccinated university community is one of the most effective strategies to protecting individual health and providing a safe and healthy environment in which the activities scheduled for the fall semester can take place without disruption.
As a reminder, any student who has not provided records confirming they have received at least one vaccination dose or has been granted an exemption by Sept. 3, 2021, will be out of compliance and subject to penalties. Instructions for how to submit documentation are availalbe in the student policy.
Should you have any questions regarding the mask requirement or need additional information, please check for the latest information on our coronavirus website or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call 970-351-4848.