SPOKANE, Wash. — Several universities in the Inland Northwest are requiring students and staff to wear masks indoors during the 2021-2022 school year.
Here’s a list of schools and their mask requirements:
Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh announced all Gonzaga students, employees, contract partners and visitors on campus will be required to wear masks.
The new policies will be in effect for everyone regardless of vaccination status and will be required for those in indoor spaces where numerous people could gathering in close to each other.
In a tweet, McCulloh explained that the reason they are enforcing the new policy is due to the delta variant. He said that the university is doing its best to reduce and break the chain of infection within the community.
"We hope to relax mask protocols once we have a sense of the incidence of COVID-19 in our community," McCulloh said. "But will continue to require face coverings into (at least) the first several weeks of the fall semester."
McCulloh said that another consideration was that infections are dramatically up and healthcare workers are being overwhelmed.
At the University of Idaho, masks will be required at any indoor university-sponsored event or space for the fall of 2021, according to the university’s website. The requirement will be reviewed every three weeks and changes will be communicated. Student will not be required to be COVID-19 tested prior to classes starting.
Whitworth will also be requiring masks indoors where eight or more people are gathered together in one indoor space. Vaccine exempted students will be required to mask inside while on campus and outside when physical distance is not possible. The requirement begins Wednesday and extends through Sept. 30, 2021. The policy will continue until the university knows more about the overall campus vaccination rates, the spread of the delta variant and insufficient vaccination rate of Spokane County.
Eastern Washington University
EWU Interim President David May announced all students, faculty and staff in EWU’s semester programs will be required to wear a mask while indoors on the WSU-Spokane campus and in the Catalyst building. The requirement also extends to any outdoor location where people congregate.
The mandate takes effect on Aug. 23. Masking requirements will be reevaluated on Sept. 15, at which time Dr. May, in consultation with university experts and local public health officials, will make a determination for the entire university.