Students, faculty and staff:
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control issued new recommendations that people who are vaccinated for COVID-19 can resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing. That same day, Governor Laura Kelly announced the State of Kansas was adopting the CDC guidance, and Douglas County officials yesterday followed suit in letting the county health order expire.
Consistent with these developments, the University of Kansas is rescinding its mask policy and will now make masks optional – not required – for all individuals on the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, effective immediately. Exceptions include public transportation and campus healthcare facilities, which will still require masks.
In addition, the Lawrence and Edwards campuses will move to Level 2 on our continuum of operational states, which means shifting from “low density” to “moderate density” for the first time since the pandemic began. In practical terms, this means you can expect to see larger events – such as student orientation – and more employees returning to campus in the days ahead.
Since the pandemic began, KU has had no known COVID-19 transmissions within our classroom or research settings, and no outbreaks stemming from university events. This success is the result of our responsiveness to science-based guidelines set forth by the CDC, local health organizations, and our Pandemic Medical Advisory Team. We will continue to make decisions based on the guidance of these entities.
A shift in responsibility
Our success in this new phase will depend on each of us respecting each other and taking ownership of our personal health.
The fact is, vaccines dramatically reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread and severe illness. Individuals who have been vaccinated can take comfort in this and may still choose to add protective layers such as masks and social distancing to manage their specific needs or risk tolerances. Individuals who are not vaccinated are strongly encouraged to continue wearing masks and social distancing, and to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
In the meantime, KU will continue to do everything possible to encourage vaccination and make it as convenient as possible for Jayhawks to get vaccinated. This will include student-specific efforts as we approach the fall semester.
For more information about the change in mask policy and other health and safety topics, visit protect.ku.edu.
Thank you for your efforts to keep KU healthy. With your help, we will continue preparing for a full on-campus presence next fall so we can meet our obligations to our students and state.
Doug and Barb
Douglas A. Girod
Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor