Breaking: UMN reinstates campus mask mandate amid spread of Delta variant

The mandate will go into effect Aug. 3

Nathanael Ashton-Piper

The University of Minnesota announced Monday that it will reinstate a campus-wide mask mandate as the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to cause a rise in new cases nationwide.

The announcement from University President Joan Gabel states that effective Aug. 3, all students, faculty, staff, contractors and visitors on campus will be required to wear a face covering indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

The mask mandate was reinstated after new CDC guidance on indoor mask-wearing to curb the more transmissible Delta variant, Gabel said in the email announcement to the University community.

“This guidance recommends that in any county where the COVID transmission rate is shown to be substantial or high, individuals wear facial coverings while indoors, whether vaccinated or not,” Gabel said.

Gabel lifted the University’s previous mask mandate on May 14.

New daily cases of COVID-19 in the United States are hovering around 100,000 for the first time since April. On Monday, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) released its latest numbers showing that 632 new cases and six new deaths have been confirmed in the last 24 hours.

Minnesota’s rolling positive rate stands at 3.3%, slightly lower than MDH’s line of caution at 5%.

Gabel said that the mandate will apply to all University campuses and also encouraged students to get vaccinated as part of the University’s “Get the Vax” campaign.

“Wearing a mask or facial covering indoors has been shown to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and, as we saw as a nation, virtually eliminate other airborne illnesses like the flu,” Gabel said. “This requirement applies to all of our campuses and offices statewide, whether a given location is in a substantial or high transmission county or not.”