UCLA Brings Back Indoor Mask Mandate Amid Surge in COVID Cases

The SoCal university has announced that they will, once again, be requiring students to wear masks indoors

UCLA has reinstated its indoor mask mandate, effective Friday, as Los Angeles County and university campus have seen a recent increase in COVID cases, reports Los Angeles Times.

Officials have said that the mask order is necessary to avoid disrupting in-person learning, campus activities, and graduation ceremonies.

“An important strategy to curb the spread of COVID-19, in addition to ongoing testing and daily symptom monitoring, is the consistent use of well-fitting masks indoors,” the school said in a statement Thursday. “This simple and practical measure and mandate will go back into effect beginning Friday, May 27, and remain in place through Wednesday, June 15 (subject to extension), for all students, staff, faculty, affiliates and visitors to the UCLA campus, regardless of vaccination status.”

In the last few weeks, as COVID cases surged in L.A. County, the school reported “close to 870 new cases,” which puts it at the “severe” level on the UCLA COVID-19 Pivot Matrix.

UCLA follows the public Berkeley public school system, which recently ordered an indoor mask mandate for students and staff for the rest of the school year, including indoor graduations.

As of March 25, the Los Angeles Public Health department shared that the county witnessed 4,202 new cases, six new deaths, 410 currently hospitalized, and a 3.8 percent positivity rate on that day alone. This number floats around the average of 4,000 new cases a day, or 278 cases for every 100,000 residents—an increase of 27 percent from last week. A rate of 100 or more new vases is considered to be a high rate of transmission.

“While transmission in the community remains high, it is important to layer in additional protective measures, especially when gathering for end-of-school year events, to keep school communities as safe as possible,” the county Department of Public Health said in a statement.

“Public Health urges everyone to wear a well-fitting mask when indoors, especially at any indoor school or sporting events. Those attending large celebratory school events should test before attending, and if positive for COVID, remain home away from others,” LADPH continued.

Addressing the recent surge, L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement, “We encourage parents, students, teachers, and staff, during this time of high transmission with the most infectious strains seen to date, to wear a mask when indoors and get vaccinated and boosted when eligible.”

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