Ohio University’s mask requirement on Athens campus rolls back to recommendation as county falls to Medium COVID-19 community level

Posted on:

< < Back to

ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Ohio University will only recommend masks on the Athens campus in classrooms, labs, studios, clinical settings, other learning spaces and its Child Development Center based on its coronavirus policy and the county’s COVID-19 community level.

The Thursday, Sept. 1, COVID-19 update from the state indicated Athens County had fallen to a medium COVID-19 community level, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC's COVID-19 County Check shows Athens County is a medium community on Sept. 2, 2022
CDC guidelines look at three metrics to determine COVID-19 community level: new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population in the past seven days, the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and total new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days.

University policy states if the community is listed as “high” by the CDC, masks are required in classrooms, laboratories, studios, clinical settings, other learning spaces and the Child Development Center. If the community is listed as “medium,” masks are only recommended in the same spaces. If the community is “low,” masks are optional on campus.

Low or medium communities may still require masks at OU in clinical healthcare facilities, COVID-19 testing facilities and public transportation. Additionally, students, faculty and staff who test positive or are exposed to COVID-19 must follow OU masking guidelines.

The Athens campus is not the only one to fall on a community level. OU’s Cleveland campus fell to a medium level, while the Eastern and Lancaster campuses fell to the low level. Mask requirements for classrooms are in effect for the Chillicothe, Southern and Zanesville campuses because of their county’s COVID-19 community levels.

OU Campus COVID-19 levels as of Sept. 2, 2022
[Ohio University]
Face covering exceptions on campuses where masks are required based on COVID-19 community level:

-Children under 2 years old.
-Any person while actively eating or drinking.
-In settings where it is not practicable or feasible to wear a face covering such as when receiving dental treatments or while swimming.
-Where working with equipment or in a process where wearing face coverings are impractical or dangerous, as determined by instructors or supervisors.
-People who, due to extraordinary circumstances, claim and receive a written exemption from the university’s face covering requirement through the appropriate university process.
-Employees, students, and visitors with a disability who are unable to wear a face covering and do not receive an approved exemption may request reasonable accommodations through the Office for University Accessibility.