Even though Gov. Ned Lamont is ending a statewide mask mandate in schools and childcare centers on Feb. 28, area colleges and universities are maintaining mask wearing for now but will review the situation in the coming weeks.
Lamont asked the State General Assembly to extend his statewide school mask mandate executive order until Feb. 28, and then he will hand the matter over to municipalities. Both the House of Representatives and Senate voted to do just that.
Terrence Cheng, president of Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, sent a message to the CSCU community last week on the issue.
“At this time, we will keep our masking rules in place,” Cheng wrote. “However, as the omicron surge subsides and case counts decrease, I expect that, in close consultation with our partners in public health, our system and institutional leaders will consider changes to our requirements in coming weeks.”
In the same message, Cheng applauded the community for following pandemic guidelines.
“Because of your diligence and adherence to guidelines, our campuses have remained safe and welcoming learning environments,” Cheng wrote. “I am fully confident they will remain that way as we navigate this next phase of the pandemic.”
Gary MacNamara, co-chair of the COVID-19 planning team at Sacred Heart University and executive director of public safety and governmental affairs, said that since Fairfield County continues to be a high-transmission area, the indoor mask requirement will remain intact.
“We will continue to monitor the status of the virus and the recommendations of the CDC and state and local health officials,” MacNamara said. “If things continue to improve, it is likely that we will modify our indoor mask mandate soon.”
John Morgan, associate vice president of public relations at Quinnipiac University, said “QU is closely monitoring the state’s guidance and data on COVID cases and will be reviewing the university’s mask policy later this month.”
Molly Polk, vice president for marketing and enrollment at the University of Hartford, also said masks will still be required for now.
“In the coming weeks and in partnership with public health and our healthcare partners, the university will review updated guidance for institutions of higher education as well as regional positivity rates to evaluate potential policy changes,” Polk said.