President Yager Provides an Update on Masking for the Spring Semester

Sent to students, faculty and staff Thursday, March 3, 2022

Good afternoon,

As the Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced that its indoor masking mandate ended yesterday, Wednesday, March 2, I am writing to reaffirm University of the Arts’ commitment to your health and safety. Despite the repeal of the citywide mandate, high-quality masks that fit tight to your face and cover your nose and mouth will remain mandatory in all indoor campus spaces until at least the end of the spring semester. The only exceptions, shared with you via email on Jan. 6, are outlined in our Community Health Policy and remain unaltered.

Cloth masks are still permitted, but students, faculty and staff are highly encouraged to continue wearing N95, KN95, KF94 or three-ply surgical masks when on campus. We continue to encourage you to ensure that any masks you purchase meet National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) requirements. All community members are encouraged to follow the CDC for updates to its mask recommendations. Community members and visitors to our campus who need a mask may visit a Public Safety desk at our building front desks to request one. If you are on campus and your mask breaks or otherwise becomes unwearable, please visit Public Safety for a replacement.

I view the Health Department’s removal of the masking mandate as a highly encouraging sign of progress. However, we must remember that the pandemic is not over, and new variants or rising case numbers may prompt additional changes to our policies in the future. Masking and vaccines have been the most essential tools in supporting our safe return to in-person learning this academic year, allowing us to foster a safe and supportive learning environment during these unprecedented times. UArts will continue to work closely with the Health Department, and any additional changes to our policies and guidelines will be shared promptly through email.

Because of the commitment you’ve made to prioritize one another’s health and well-being and to upholding the UArts Healthy Promise, our case counts this academic year have remained markedly low, as evidenced by our COVID-19 dashboard. You’ve ensured an uninterrupted and positive in-person learning experience, which will include our first in-person Commencement since 2019—something I am truly grateful for.