University of Minnesota to require masks fall semester

Announced Monday, the new requirement is a departure from the University’s original choice to recommend – but not require – face masks.

A cloth mask and bouquet of flowers are seen on the Goldy statue outside Coffman Memorial Union on Wednesday, April 1. (Parker Johnson / Minnesota Daily)

Parker Johnson

A cloth mask and bouquet of flowers are seen on the Goldy statue outside Coffman Memorial Union on Wednesday, April 1. (Parker Johnson / Minnesota Daily)

Hana Ikramuddin

University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel announced the University’s new decision to require faculty, staff, students and visitors to wear face masks in all enclosed and indoor spaces to limit the spread of COVID-19, according to a campus-wide email and at Monday’s University Senate Meeting.

The move, effective onward past July 1, represents a change from the University’s original choice to only recommend masks – not require them – which had received continued criticism from students. 

Faculty, staff, and students will be provided masks through the university, although details regarding the distribution of masks to students are still in the works. Those wearing masks are still expected to continue social distancing. 

Face coverings will also be required outdoors if social distance cannot be maintained. In addition, indoor spaces including residence halls and labs that require respirators are among the spaces not included with the mask mandate, per the campus-wide email.

In a petition designed last week, over 2,000 people have demanded the University require masks, in part citing the Minneapolis executive order mandating face masks in schools, businesses and other indoor establishments, which went into effect on May 26.

Mayor Frey has also released a statement pushing for the University to require masks.

The new regulations do not apply to children under 2 years of age, or anyone who cannot wear a face covering due to health reasons. Those who are alone in a room or vehicle, are also exempt. The University advises those who need to accommodations to reach out to the Disability Resource Center.

This is a breaking news report. More information will be added as it becomes available.