UI announces new mask guidelines, face masks not required if fully vaccinated

In an email sent out on May 19, the university announced updates of the face mask policy to align with new recommendations from the CDC.


Grace Smith

Fourth year student Ethan Fobbe receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Iowa Memorial Union at the University of Iowa on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.

Natalie Dunlap , News Editor

Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a face mask or socially distance in University of Iowa buildings, or elsewhere on campus, with a few exceptions including on the CAMBUS and in health care settings.

The UI said it was revising its policy to match the recommendations published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on May 13. New CDC guidelines say fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance, except when required by federal, state, or local regulation.

These new guidelines from the UI go into effect May 20.

At UI Health Care, fully vaccinated employees are still required to wear a mask when providing patient care and in settings where patients and visitors are present, but they are not required to wear a face mask in non-clinical spaces, such as break rooms and cubicles.

Employees who are not fully vaccinated are advised to continue wearing a mask and social distancing in all settings.

The campus update said supervisors should not ask employees if they have been vaccinated or if they plan to be vaccinated, and employees are asked not to ask their co-workers their vaccine status.

On May 18, Iowa City also updated its mask mandate to align with CDC guidelines. A press release said residents should still respect the masking guidelines of businesses, healthcare facilities, and events. Masks are still required on public transit according to the CDC and federal guidelines, so masks should still be worn on city buses.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, 1,275,754 Iowans, including 75,232 Johnson County residents, have completed their vaccination series.

Since August 18, 2020, there have been 3,192 self-reported cases of COVID-19 in students and 498 self-reported cases in staff. There have been no new cases reported since May 17.

Vaccinations are voluntary for students and staff, but the UI is strongly encouraging people to receive the vaccine. Employees can schedule their vaccine appointment with the University Employee Health Clinic by emailing [email protected] or calling 319-356-3631, Option 3, and students can call Student Health at 319-335-8394 for vaccine availability during summer break.

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