NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – University of Oklahoma administrators have ended the face mask mandates for vaccinated individuals on OU campuses, but unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear a face mask and practice social distancing.
OU officials announced on Tuesday the immediate end of the university-wide face mask requirement and social distancing policies, according to an OU news release.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we at OU have followed guidance issued by the CDC, and we will continue to do so,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “As we continue preparations for an academic year that feels much more normal, it’s a relief in many ways that the availability of vaccines, and our ability to provide them, allows us to lift our masking requirement and adjust our social distancing guidelines. This decision, like all of our COVID-19 protocols, was developed in close consultation with our medical and public health experts.”
Officials are making the change in accordance with updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
“The changes to OU’s masking and social distancing polices are based on a growing body of evidence that points to the effectiveness of the vaccines, as well as Oklahoma’s record low case counts of COVID-19,” said OU Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler. “We will continue to proactively monitor the COVID-19 infection rate for unvaccinated individuals and are poised to make any needed shifts in policy.”
All three OU campuses no longer require vaccinated individuals to wear a face mask. Masks will also not be required for those individuals at campus events for fully vaccinated individuals 12 years old and above, with limited exceptions, according to the news release.
Masking requirements are now limited to the following groups and settings:
- All individuals in patient-facing settings, including research participant areas and facilities where patient care is the primary function
- Unvaccinated individuals inside OU facilities
- Guests 2-11 years of age inside OU facilities
- Transit buses due to Department of Transportation mandates
“Being fully vaccinated is defined as being two weeks past the final dose of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine,” the news release states. “The university strongly encourages the entire OU community to get vaccinated, particularly those residing in congregate housing. Anyone who wishes to mask indoors or outdoors may freely do so.”
Social distancing protocols at the university are eliminated all areas except patient care and research participant settings. Officials plan to use the summer to phase back to normal classroom capacities.
Workspaces on campus can also now eliminate social distancing.
Third parties are allowed to again host events in university facilities, but must follow campus protocols, in accordance with CDC guidance. Anyone who plans to participate in an event on OU property is advised to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
All three OU campuses have COVID-19 vaccines available at no cost. Go to ou.edu/together/vaccine for more information on vaccine distribution at OU.
The Norman City Council ended the city’s face mask mandate on Tuesday.