ISU will loosen its mask mandate next week, while its lab schools drop the requirement immediately
Illinois State University on Monday said it will relax its COVID-19 mask requirements next week, but there are still many locations on campus where face coverings will be required.
ISU's laboratory schools, however, have decided to go mask optional when students return to classes on Tuesday.
According to a message the university issued to students, faculty and staff, face coverings will no longer be required starting Feb. 28, except in classrooms and laboratories, clinical settings (including Student Health Services, Student Counseling Services and COVID-19 testing sites), public transportation and university events where speakers and performers require masking.
“University COVID-19 mitigation measures will continue to be evaluated, updated, and communicated in the coming weeks to the campus community as the pandemic enters an endemic state,” university officials said.
Acting director of ISU's laboratory schools Barb Meyer said masks will be "highly encouraged but no longer required" for students at Thomas Metcalf School and University High School in Normal.
"At this transitional time during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important that we support one another, regardless of individual choices that are made," Meyer said in a message to parents and families.
Meyer added weekly coronanvirus testing will now be optional for students, regardless of vaccination status.
Gov. JB Pritzker announced earlier this month the state would lift its indoor mask mandate, also starting Feb. 28, with a few exceptions, including schools.
Many schools have shifted to mask-optional after a state appeal’s court recently struck down the mandate.
ISU has KN95 masks available for students at Bone Student Center, Milner Library, the Multicultural Center and in university dorms.