No more masks?

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Photo by Josh Meitz

The Marquette University COVID-19 Response Team will meet today, March 1, to discuss the university’s mask mandate. Currently, all individuals regardless of vaccination status are required to wear a mask in public indoor spaces on campus.

Marquette Wire Sports Reporter Johnnie Brooker was at the Urban Scholars celebration dinner last night where President Michael Lovell and Provost Kimo Ah Yun said the COVID-19 Response Team plans to meet March 1 at 8:15 a.m. following the expiration of the City of Milwaukee’s mask mandate. The city’s mask mandate is set to expire today, March 1.

“We go by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and the Milwaukee health department’s requirement for masks…and there should be an announcement tomorrow (March 1),” Lovell said.

He also mentioned that the CDC changed its mask guidelines last Friday. Under the new guidelines certain mitigation strategies are recommended for each county depending on the newest data such as new cases and hospital admissions. The CDC does not currently recommend residents in Milwaukee County wear a mask in indoor public spaces.

“We’re working on an announcement for tomorrow (March 1). We’ll meet with the team to talk about what things would look like,” Ah Yun said.

The Marquette Wire was able to confirm with other university officials that the COVID-19 Response Team is set to meet today and the university’s mask mandate is on the agenda.

Milwaukee’s mask requirement expires…March 1, and the CDC recently changed its mask guidance. The Marquette University COVID-19 Response Team is meeting tomorrow morning (March 1) to discuss these developments and is expected to make a recommendation to senior leaders to update the university’s mask guidance to align with the CDC. An official university announcement will follow,” Lynn Griffith, university spokesperson, said in an email.

The COVID-19 Response Team makes recommendations that then have to be approved by the senior leadership team. Lovell is a part of this team.

From Jan. 24-Feb.23 there have been 251 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus. 206 of those were students, 45 were staff or faculty. The first day of the spring semester was Jan. 24. 

Marquette has followed the City of Milwaukee Health Department’s policy on masks in the past. 

 The Milwaukee Health Department’s mask requirement for public indoor spaces expired June 1, 2021. Marquette also removed its mask mandate June 1, in conjunction with the city’s removal.

Later in the summer, Marquette reinstated the indoor mask policy Aug. 17, following the City of Milwaukee’s classification of an “extreme transmission” status for COVID-19 cases. At this point the City of Milwaukee Health Department recommends that people wear masks in public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

Marquette has required masks in public indoor spaces since then. Recently the University of Wisconsin school system announced its mask mandates expiration, leaving decisions about masking up to individual universities.

UW-Green Bay will no longer require masks beginning March 1. UW-Madison will not require masks beginning March 12, though the mask mandate for Dane County, where UW-Madison is located, expires March 1. 

UW-Milwaukee will require masks to be worn in public indoor spaces through March 18.

Johnnie Brooker, Alex Garner and Benjamin Wells contributed to this report.

This story was written by Megan Woolard. She can be reached at megan.woolard@marquette.edu and on Twitter @MeganWoolard4