UChicago Forward Update Announces Easing of Campus Masking Requirements

Starting March 4, masks will not be required in most offices, residence halls, retail stores, and dining spaces. Masking in classrooms will still be required through the end of winter quarter.


Alexandra Nisenoff

Students walking in the Quad.

By Neive Rodriguez

An email communication sent Friday, February 25, by UChicago Forward announced that beginning March 4, the University will make mask-wearing optional in most indoor spaces on campus. Mask requirements in classrooms will remain in place through the end of winter quarter on March 19.

The University’s decision follows the City of Chicago’s decision to lift its indoor masking requirement on February 28. Chicago’s mask mandate will still be in effect for public schools, public transit, and health-care settings.

As of March 4, masks will no longer be required in most spaces in residence halls, dining halls, cafés, and campus stores, as well as in most non-medical offices. UChicago Medicine will maintain a separate set of masking requirements, while the UChicago Laboratory Schools and the UChicago Charter School will communicate any policy updates separately. Per the email, the University will answer questions on the new masking policy next week.

The email also announced an end to mandatory COVID-19 surveillance testing on February 28 as cases decline citywide and on campus. For the remainder of winter quarter, testing will become voluntary for students and employees who are vaccinated. Individuals can self-schedule tests online by visiting the UChicago Wellness portal. Unvaccinated individuals will still be required to participate in weekly surveillance tests.

The University reported 142 new COVID-19 cases and 410 close contacts between February 18 and 24, compared with 152 new cases and 405 close contacts last week. Surveillance testing between February 17 and 23 indicated 74 cases, for a 2.36 percent positivity rate. Chicago’s seven-day positivity rate was 1.3 percent, a decrease of 0.5 percent from the 1.8 percent reported last week.

The email noted that February 28 will be the last day that the University will offer free KN95 masks to students and employees. The masks are currently available for pickup between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the front desk of the Quadrangle Club.