McMaster says masks no longer mandatory on campus as of June 1

Masks will no longer be mandatory for students, staff and visitors at McMaster, starting next month, though the university says they're still "strongly" encouraged.

University cites 'expert advice' to explain move, says masks still 'strongly' encouraged

McMaster University said masks will no longer be mandatory on campus as of June 1, though they are still strongly encouraged. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

Masks will no longer be mandatory for students, staff and visitors at McMaster University, starting next month.

The university has announced it's pausing its mask mandate as of June 1, pointing to "expert advice" and the "changing course of the pandemic in recent weeks."

A notice to the McMaster community says people are still "strongly" encouraged to wear a mask indoors or when they're in close contact with others outdoors. Free surgical masks are available on campus, it adds.

Susan Tighe, provost and vice-president academic for the university, thanked staff, students and faculty for following its guidelines.

"Thanks to your collective effort, and the improving course of the pandemic, we are able to continue our gradual return to a more regular state," she said.

"We encourage our community to continue to be respectful of one another in our ongoing efforts to keep our campus safe."

The university announced in April that it was extending its mask mandate, citing modelling showing the sixth wave hadn't peaked yet. Mohawk College announced around the same time that it was dropping the mask requirement.

The change announced Monday is the latest response to the COVID-19 pandemic that McMaster has lifted.

Its vaccine mandate was paused on May 1 and it's "MacCheck" safety tool is no longer required before coming to campus.

The university says it will also stop publicly reporting COVID-19 cases on its Back to Mac website at the beginning of June.

That said, McMaster is reminding staff and faculty that they must still report COVID-19 cases, in line with provincial workplace safety rules.

Students no longer need to report if they test positive, but the university said those in health professional programs should find out if the places they work require it.

McMaster is also asking the school community to continue using Ontario's COVID-19 self-assessment tool, and to follow the advice it provides, adding anyone who feels sick is asked to stay home.

The university said it will continue monitoring the pandemic situation and, if required, it's vaccine and mask mandates may be reinstated.


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