UVM to drop mask mandate Saturday

Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 1:28 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The University of Vermont says it will drop indoor mask mandates starting on Saturday, joining other colleges in the area that are loosening COVID guidelines as case numbers drop.

Officials say a combination of high-vaccination rates and dropping case numbers and hospitalizations prompted the decision. The announcement Wednesday comes two days after the state went to a mask optional footing for communities and schools. University officials say they will continue to follow the data and that those who continue to mask should not be stigmatized.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, we have steadfastly followed the guidance and recommendations of medical and public health professionals,” UVM provost and senior vice president Patricia Prelock said in a statement. “We recognize there are members of our community who, for a number of reasons, will feel more comfortable wearing a mask in different situations,” Prelock said. “Please respect their decision. The UVM community has demonstrated an exceptional level of care, compassion, and respect throughout the pandemic. We know that will continue.”

UVM officials say they are continuing to encourage students to take advantage of testing on campus, especially if they have symptoms.

Other area colleges have taken similar measures. Dartmouth College, which is on spring break, went mask-optional as of Wednesday. Middlebury College’s mask requirements will end on Friday when the school also goes on break. Middlebury’s decision came despite a recent surge of COVID cases on campus.

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