To: Faculty, Staff, and Students
From: President Ashish Vaidya
Subject: Masking on Campus
Dear Campus Community:
It has been two long years of navigating the pandemic, and all the while, the faculty and staff have kept their focus on serving students with grace and resilience. Your commitment and care during the most difficult time in our history is both inspiring and a point of great pride. I am so grateful to work with such incredible colleagues.
We have been monitoring the trajectory of the virus in the region, paying attention to the number of cases, positivity rates, hospital capacity and more. We have strongly encouraged vaccination because the vaccines are safe and effective against this disease and are our best defense. For the past several weeks, that trajectory has been trending in a very positive direction, leading the CDC to modify its guidelines regarding masking. Governor Beshear announced earlier this week that he was removing state government employee masking requirements.
It is essential that we adapt our mitigations to be more permissive as cases decline, just as we have always adapted them to be more restrictive when cases climb. After carefully evaluating our mitigation measures and the data, and consulting with the members of the COVID Preparedness Team, we are ready to make a change to our masking policy.
Effective Tuesday, March 8, masks will be optional on campus, with these exceptions:
In addition, masks will be optional, effective immediately, in BB&T Arena, which hosts tournament games starting tonight. Finally, NKU campus events, including those with off-campus attendees, will no longer require advance approval to proceed.
We will reevaluate our approach continually, but particularly in the week following Spring Break with an announcement that week about any modifications we might make effective March 21. As always, any time we see evidence of a new variant or significant surge in cases, we will add mitigations to keep the campus community safe.
We know that not everyone will agree with this change. We are doing what we have done since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are following the science and the guidance of our public health experts. And we will continue to do so going forward, adapting our mitigation efforts as the ebb and flow of COVID-19 cases warrants. We have been highly successful in our efforts. Throughout this academic year, we have maintained low case counts, have kept our campus open and ensured students continue progressing toward their goals. While we have prioritized the health and safety of the campus community, we have also learned and appreciated the importance of being considerate, respectful and attentive to the greater good.
I am grateful to everyone for their diligence and for the way they have adapted as the COVID situation has changed during this academic year.