Auburn University will require masks indoors and aboard University transportation for the spring semester, the University announced Wednesday. The requirement goes into effect Jan. 3, 2022.
The University sent a campus-wide email detailing the announcement Wednesday afternoon, saying the decision to reinstate the mask requirement came after consulting with local and state medical authorities.
All individuals will be required to wear a face covering in all campus buildings and University transportation services such as Tiger Transit, regardless of vaccination status. The requirement is in effect until further notice, the University said.
The University also highly encouraged all students, faculty and staff to receive a negative COVID-19 test before returning to campus to help slow the spread of the virus.
Auburn lifted its mask requirement for vaccinated individuals in November.
All University offices are set to resume normal operations Jan. 3 after the winter holiday break. Spring semester classes begin Jan. 12.
As reports of infections of the Omicron variant have emerged throughout the Southeast, health officials continue to stress the importance of vaccination against COVID-19, which is expected to continue to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death due to infection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control's Nowcast estimates, the Omicron variant is now responsible for the majority of COVID-19 infections in the Southeast. The Omicron variant likely spreads more easily than previous variants, according to the CDC.
A seven-day moving average of COVID-19 cases in Lee County from the CDC shows an uptick in cases beginning in late December. The positivity rate in Lee County also increased in the same period and was at 21.92% as of Dec. 26.
No deaths due to COVID-19 have been reported in Lee County in December, according to the CDC, but health officials still urge the population to take appropriate precautions, including receiving both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and wearing a face covering.
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