Masks requirements to continue at USF

USF says it will keep masking requirements and offer KN95 and N95 masks to “high-risk individuals.” PHOTO BY MIGUEL ARCAYENA/SAN FRANCISCO FOGHORN

Beginning this week, California and much of the Bay Area will end their indoor mask mandates for fully vaccinated people. However, USF announced last week that it will not follow state and county policy change, deciding to “continue to require masks indoors, including in the Koret Health and Recreation Center.” 

Despite this decision, the University said it “will revisit our mask mandate in the coming months, as some members of our community are not yet eligible to receive the booster.” According to myUSF Together webpage, 97.8% of students have been fully vaccinated as of Feb. 11. The University changed its definition of full vaccination to include booster shots as part of its updated protocols at the beginning of the spring semester. 

Vaccination statistics for employees, including faculty and staff, were not made available at the time of this story being published. 

To accommodate the continuous mask mandate the University also stated that the Office of Student Life is “providing N95 masks to high-risk individuals such as unvaccinated faculty, students, and staff, and KN95 and surgical masks will continue to be provided to the schools and college as supplies allow.” 

When California decided to drop its indoor mask policy on Feb. 7, COVID-19 related numbers had shrunk to pre-omicron surge percentages. As of Feb. 7, the state saw a 65% drop in case rates since the December surge began. 

Eight of the nine Bay Area counties followed the state decision announcing they would drop indoor mask mandates on Feb. 16, as the region improved its COVID-19 conditions. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, only Santa Clara County will buck the trend and keep its current policy, but could possibly join at a later date, should the number of cases and hospitalizations continue to fall. 

In comparison to other Bay Area schools, UC Berkeley plans to lift its mask mandate in two weeks. While San Francisco State University, like USF, will not change its masking requirements.

The University’s COVID-19 Crisis Management Team update also reiterated current quarantine and testing protocols. USF will continue to offer on-campus testing at the McLaren Center on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Drop-in hours for “symptomatic testing, close-contact testing, and end-of-isolation testing” will also be offered every day at the University Center. 

Meanwhile, a weekly negative testing requirement began this week for unvaccinated USF employees working on campus. 

As of Feb. 14, about 95% of COVID-19 tests provided by the University have returned negative, according to University officials.   

For the latest campus COVID-19 information and policies, visit USF Together.  
Miguel Arcayena is a senior politics major and the Foghorn’s news editor. He covers campus breaking news and administrative issues. He can be reached at marcayena@sffoghorn.com.

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