UK becomes mask optional


A student walks across campus on the first day of the spring semester on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Hannah Stanley

Beginning March 9, UK will be shifting its mandatory mask policy to an optional mask-wearing policy in common areas.

Masks will now be optional in areas such as classroom buildings, dining halls, residence halls, the Gatton Student Center and more, according to a campus-wide email from university president Eli Capilouto on Tuesday.

Classrooms will not be an exception in the new policy; according to Capilouto, students must be wearing masks when in class. Classrooms will be supplied with extra masks.

Performing arts classes will also require masks, with the exception of performance situations.

Those in private offices and conference rooms with more than one person will be expected to follow the mandatory mask policy. Healthcare facilities are to continue with a mandatory mask policy per UKHC policies.

Other voluntary events – including concerts, Campus Ruckus and athletic events – are included in being mask-optional.

The shift in mask policy originates in accordance with the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) measures and consultation with the university’s START team.

Incidence rates of COVID-19 in Fayette County, as well as the Commonwealth in general, have been at a declining rate in past weeks as COVID patient numbers in UK HealthCare facilities decrease.

UK intends to grow the mask-optional policy if the virus continues to decline following commencement ceremonies in May, excluding health-care facilities.