McMaster extends mask mandate, while Mohawk College prepares to drop COVID measures
University cites modelling showing COVID's sixth wave will continue for several weeks
McMaster University has extended its mask mandate until the end of May, citing recent modelling that shows the sixth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic will continue for several weeks before it peaks.
"We have continued to monitor the COVID pandemic and seek ongoing advice from McMaster experts and public health officials," states a release from the Hamilton university issued Wednesday afternoon.
"Masking is one of the most effective ways of reducing the spread of COVID… It is also the easiest and most respectful way that students, faculty, staff, and visitors to campus can help to improve the safety of interactions on campus."
People visiting any McMaster site must wear a mask in indoor settings, "including classrooms, libraries, crowded spaces and close workspaces," the university says. Masks are also still required at the school's hospitals and clinics.
McMaster says free surgical masks are available at the campus store, libraries and department offices.
"The dynamic nature of the pandemic has not eased," says the statement. "The university will continue to stay aligned with the best and most current health advice."
Meanwhile, Mohawk College is committed to dropping its remaining COVID-19 measures at the end of the long weekend, on April 18. The school's proof-of-vaccination policy will be suspended, and masks will be no longer required, but recommended.
"Mohawk will continue to monitor the situation with the pandemic and adjust these plans if conditions change or we receive new direction from Public Health authorities," states an update on the college's website dated March 31.
"Access controls and measures such as mandatory masking and the college's vaccination policy could be reinstated on short notice if conditions change."
Final exams for this term at Mohawk College are April 16, however Mohawk kept most of its courses online this semester, while McMaster saw a return to in-person learning.
The post-secondary school changes come as Hamilton's public school board is asking the province for masking to be reinstated, citing high levels of teacher absenteeism that are leading to the placement of teaching students in classrooms.