U of T and Ryerson University plan to end masking, vaccination mandates May 1
Move coincides with start of spring semester, but subject to change if necessary
The University of Toronto and Ryerson University plan to end their mask and vaccination mandates on May 1.
The announcement comes about a week after Ontario lifted its mask mandate in most public indoor spaces. Masking remains mandatory on public transit, in health-care facilities, long-term and congregate care settings, but that directive is also set to expire at the end of April.
Both schools said the move is supported by province's own directive as well as public health authorities, but could be reversed on short notice if necessary.
Earlier this month, the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), of which both schools are members, said universities would maintain their masking and vaccination policies "until at least the end of the current term" in a bid to "minimize uncertainty and disruption" to students, staff and faculty.
This week, the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Guelph — also COU members — announced they too would be lifting their face covering and vaccine mandates May 1.
While mandates lifted at elementary and high schools last week, universities and colleges can choose to keep their mandates because they are separate legal entities, a spokesperson for Jill Dunlop, Ontario's Minister of Colleges and Universities, previously told CBC News.
While masks are no longer required on campus after May 1, Ryerson University said: "We do support those who choose to continue to wear a face covering.
"We strongly encourage our community members to wear masks in crowded settings or in areas where you are working closely with others."
The University of Toronto had a similar message: "While physical distancing and masking will no longer be required... it is vitally important that, even with the easing of provincial measures, we remain vigilant, conscientious and respectful of one another."
With files from Kate Bueckert