Mason revises mask guidelines

President Gregory Washington

Dear Fellow Patriots:

This is an important day. We have met our goal of keeping our COVID-19 testing positivity rates consistently below 4 percent for the past several weeks, and the latest guidance from the CDC indicates that all of our domestic campuses are at the “Low” level of transmission, which now means the CDC no longer recommends that masks be required indoors.

Last week our positivity rate dropped to 0.29 percent out of more than 4,700 tests conducted. Last Friday alone, not one of the 1,000 tests processed in our Mason laboratory yielded a positive result.

Based on this achievement, I am pleased to announce that Mason is now at Mask Level Yellow, which means effective immediately masks are optional at Mason, except in classrooms and class labs during scheduled classes and or/lab activity. There are several other minor and targeted exceptions that you can read by following the link on the Safe Return to Campus website.

Although we anticipated that mask requirements would remain in place for events with 50+ attendees, new CDC guidance means we will no longer have a mask requirement for events UNLESS specifically required by event organizers.

Requests for exceptions

  • Faculty and staff who wish to request a medical exemption from wearing a mask where required should contact Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for more information
  • Students who wish to request a medical exemption from wearing a mask should visit University Life’s Office of Disability Services for more information.
  • Through the existing event scheduling process, event organizers may require their event be masked by contacting their event coordinator. Please contact University Events for more information.

We will also be relaxing our testing protocols for students in high contact roles and also for unvaccinated students.  Mason’s surveillance and diagnostic testing sites will remain open and available to any Mason community member who wishes to be tested, and we encourage you get tested when needed or when you feel you may have been exposed.  And as always, we strongly encourage everyone to get up-to-date with their COVID vaccine and booster and to stay home if you feel sick.

I recognize that these changes may bring relief to some and concern to others. If you feel more comfortable wearing your mask, you should feel free to continue. We still encourage you to wear a mask indoors and will support you in doing so.  We will also support those who opt to remove their masks. There is room for us all at Mason. Let’s respect one another as we take this next step forward as a thriving and healthy community.


Gregory Washington

Posted in Coronavirus Communications.