New Face Mask Guidance

Dear Kent State University Students, Faculty and Staff,

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines regarding COVID-19. After a review of these guidelines and consultation with our public health experts, we are modifying our mask requirement across all campus locations.

Effective today, masks are required only in these areas:

  • In classrooms while courses are in session. 
  • In laboratories and studios during required academic sessions.
  • At the DeWeese Health Center including Counseling and Psychological Services on the Kent Campus.
  • At the Child Development Center on the Kent Campus. 
  • On all PARTA buses on the Kent Campus.

As of today, masks are optional and a personal choice in all spaces not listed above.

The new CDC guidelines rank community levels of low, medium or high transmission based on three factors: the number of new hospitalizations for COVID-19 in a county, the percentage of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients in that county and the total number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population over the prior seven days in the county.

All Kent State campuses and locations are in counties that currently are at low (Portage, Columbiana, Stark, Summit and Tuscarawas) or medium (Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga and Trumbull) levels. At these levels, the CDC no longer recommends requiring wearing face coverings indoors. We will continue to monitor county-level data weekly to determine if changes in community levels warrant changes to our mask policy. 

While the CDC no longer recommends requiring face coverings indoors at communities with low or medium COVID-19 community level, the CDC also recommends community settings such as schools may consider additional layers of prevention based on information and data about the characteristics of the setting. 

For this semester, students made decisions to take in-person courses based on the mask requirement in classrooms and other academic spaces. Attending class is not optional. Because of this, we will continue with the mask requirement in those spaces for the remainder of the semester. However, instructors may continue to teach without a mask if they can maintain 6 feet of distance from their students. The guidelines for managing noncompliance in the classroom remain in place.

It’s also important to note that the CDC still recommends that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, who is positive for COVID-19 or who was recently exposed to the virus should wear a mask until they can be tested and cleared, typically for 10 days. 

Any individual may still choose to wear a face mask. Please be respectful of an individual’s decision. When entering an individual’s private office, they may ask you to wear a face covering. Please abide by their wishes.

Kent State will continue to provide all students, faculty and staff with masks as well as access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines free of charge. Wearing a KN95, N95 or medical-grade surgical mask has been shown to add protection against COVID-19 even when others around you are unmasked.

Sincerely,

Manfred van Dulmen, Ph.D.
Associate Provost for Academic Affairs
Dean, Division of Graduate Studies
Chair, Pandemic Leadership Committee

POSTED: Thursday, March 3, 2022 - 1:15pm
UPDATED: Thursday, March 3, 2022 - 4:33pm