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Oregon colleges and universities update mask requirements

As the state prepares to lift its indoor mask mandates on March 12, some public and private colleges and universities have released their own updated mask policies.
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PORTLAND, Ore — With Oregon poised to lift its mask requirements for indoor public places and schools on March 12, a number of colleges and universities have announced updates to their mask policies.

Oregon State University, Eastern Oregon University and Willamette University said it will make masks optional for students, staff and teachers in most campus settings starting March 12. In accordance with state and federal requirements for masking, all three schools will continue to require masks in certain settings such as student health care centers and public transportation. The schools will also continue to provide free masks on campus for those who decide to continue to wear them.

“Wearing a mask is a personal choice and should be respected by all,” said Dan Larson, OSU coronavirus response coordinator. “Those at higher risk should continue to wear masks.”

OSU also said, as of March 3, proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test is no longer required at indoor and outdoor events.

RELATED: Masks to become optional at Portland, Salem schools once Oregon lifts mandate

Portland State University announced it will lift its mask mandate beginning March 19 to align with with the end of winter term. PSU will keep requiring masks in health care settings, public transportation and childcare settings on campus, which serve children not yet eligible for the vaccine. Free KN95 masks will continue to be provided on campus.

As of March 7, the following universities and colleges have not yet released updates to their mask policies: 

  • Oregon Institute of Technology
  • Portland Community College
  • Southern Oregon University
  • University of Oregon 
  • Western Oregon University
  • George Fox University
  • Lewis & Clark College
  • Linfield University
  • Reed College
  • University of Portland

In late February, state health officials announced the new end date of the mask mandate following rapid declines in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. While hospitalizations have returned to pre-omicron levels, public health officials have said the easing of mask mandates does not mean the pandemic is over and vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19.

This story may be updated.

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