UC Irvine and other schools reinstate indoor mask mandates amid rising COVID-19 wave

The University of California Irvine on Monday will require all students and staff to wear masks inside campus buildings, following the example of other colleges that have decided to step up safety measures in recent weeks as the COVID-19 cases continue to increase.

The UCI’s universal masking policy applies to everyone on campus, regardless of vaccination status, according to a statement from the university. The decision was announced after Orange County entered the “high” level of community transmission set by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.

Other University of California campuses, including UC Riverside, temporarily restored now-expired indoor mask guidelines earlier this summer. UCLA temporarily reinstated its indoor mask policy in late June and later extended the requirement until further notice. UCLA has also reintroduced daily symptom monitoring for students and staff. Weekly COVID-19 testing is strongly recommended.

San Diego Unified has also opted to bring back an indoor mask mandate for students and staff beginning Monday. In May, the district established several criteria that, if met, would trigger a return to a mask mandate. One criterion was that San Diego County reached “high” levels of COVID-19 activity — a threshold that was surpassed Thursday.

The University of Southern California’s mask policy follows state and local law, which means its students and staff likely won’t have to wear masks indoors until Los Angeles County requires it. Most college campuses in the Southland lifted their indoor mask requirements in the spring, when coronavirus cases were relatively low.

The continued spike in coronavirus cases, fueled by the ultra-contagious BA.5 subvariant, along with a surge in hospitalizations, have brought LA ​​County closer to reinstating a universal indoor mask mandate. The reinstatement measure, which officials have long warned against, could go into effect as early as late July.

Nearly 9 in 10 Californians now live in counties with high levels of COVID-19 community transmission, which the CDC recommends should trigger universal masking in indoor public spaces.

The San Diego Union-Tribune contributed to this report.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-07-17/uc-irvine-and-other-schools-reinstate-indoor-mask-mandates-amid-rising-covid-19-wave UC Irvine and other schools reinstate indoor mask mandates amid rising COVID-19 wave

Alley Einstein

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