3 DC-area universities partially reinstate mask mandates due to rise in Covid-19 cases

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American University (AU) reinstated an indoor masking requirement effective Tuesday, where “masks will be required in all buildings on campus, except when individuals are alone in private offices, inside classrooms residence with roommates only, or when actively eating or drinking,” according to an email shared with the AU community.

The AU will review the mandate on May 9, the email said.

On April 7, Georgetown University (GU) reinstated an indoor mask mandate for its medical center and main campuses only, where they saw a significant increase in Covid-19 cases, primarily among college students. first cycle, according to a statement.

The requirement is in place “until further notice,” GU said.

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) reinstated its mask mandate on April 6 for all people “in common areas of residence halls or in university restaurants, except when actively eating or drinking,” according to an email. addressed to the university community last week.

JHU, located in Baltimore, about 40 miles north of DC, is monitoring conditions and consulting with health experts “in hopes of lifting temporary precautions soon,” spokeswoman Jill Rosen said.

JHU said its mandate follows travel-related Covid-19 cases reported since spring break. AU and GU noted the impact of the Omicron BA.2 subvariant in their masking rule announcements.

The highly contagious subvariant is the dominant coronavirus strain in the United States, causing more than half of all reported Covid-19 infections as of the end of last month, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. .

Nationally, cases are trending up in more than half of the states, although case numbers are still relatively low. With an average of about 34,000 new cases per day, the daily case rate in the United States remains one of the lowest since mid-July.

On Monday, Philadelphia became the first major metropolitan area in the United States to announce the return of mask requirements, noting that its case count was 50% higher than 10 days ago. The city will reinstate indoor masking starting April 18.

Since the beginning of the month, “nearly 100 undergraduate students” – residential and non-residential – at JHU have tested positive for Covid-19, JHU vice provost for student health Kevin Shollenberger said in the email. The university is requiring twice-weekly Covid-19 testing for undergraduates until April 22.

GU requires all undergraduate students to take a PCR test on April 18, after returning from Easter vacation, unless they have tested positive in the past three months, according to the university’s statement. .

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