UC Riverside has announced that as of April 11, individuals on campus will no longer be required to wear a mask while indoors. This announcement comes after the State of California lifted their mask mandate on Feb. 15.
Many of the UCs choose to continue implementing face coverings despite state guidelines after the Omicron variant surge during the beginning of the winter quarter. UC Los Angeles will also lift their mandate on April 11, and UC San Diego will lift theirs on April 4. UC Irvine has already lifted their mandate as of March 19.
According to the statement released by UCR Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Elizabeth Watkins and Vice Chancellor for Planning, Budget and Administration Gerry Bomotti, “The April 11 date aligns with the recommendations of UCR’s Public Health Advisory Group.”
UCR and the other UCs still strongly recommend that those on campus wear face coverings while indoors. Students and faculty should also be up to date on their vaccines. Individuals who are not vaccinated must still wear a face covering while indoors.
Some students, however, are not ready for the transition to masks being optional.
“As exciting and relieving as it might be, I’m still a bit skeptical. Things are just starting to get better, for them to get worse again? The same thing happened last year, and look where we ended up. I think we should hold off just a bit more,” says third-year English major Jaylene Cobian.
Other students are worried about another potential COVID surge and how this may affect those relying on hybrid or online courses.
“It is disheartening to learn about our campus’ decision to lift the mask mandate this spring quarter while we as students are still in an ongoing battle to ensure hybrid instruction options for our students who remain unable to attend in-person classes for whatever extenuating circumstances they may have,” says third-year business economics major Aalani Richardson.
“Additionally, it seems very irresponsible on the campus’ part that we are rushing to return to normal while there has been another serious outbreak of BA.2 variant in Shanghai that has led to China imposing lockdowns on some of their biggest cities once again. I hope that the campus can act in accordance with the students’ best interest for once and reconsider this decision before it leads to any irreversible ramifications on the state of our student population.”
When students return to campus on March 28 following spring break, the Wellness Check Survey will no longer be in use. Students and employees should now use the COVID Screening Check. This will be used in the case of someone reporting a positive test, symptoms, exposure or a negative test. Students who live on campus should get tested before or upon returning to campus after the break.
This announcement also comes with new testing protocols. Vaccinated, asymptomatic students living in campus housing are expected to take a PCR test at least once every two weeks.
All other vaccinated, asymptomatic employees and students who are working or learning on campus are expected to take a PCR test at least once every month. Anyone who is unvaccinated with an approved exemption is required to test once a week and report the results through the COVID Screening Check. The testing sites at Pentland Hills Bear Cave, the Student Success Center and Curative at lot 26 will remain open.