Updated Apr 19, 2022 - Health

Universities reinstate mask mandates amid COVID surge

The American University in Washington, D.C. Photo: Dee Dwyer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Universities nationwide are reinstating mask mandates amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

Driving the news: The University of Connecticut announced on April 15 that it was reinstating its masking requirements for "all indoor instructional settings, workspaces, and indoor events exceeding 100 individuals" amid a rise in cases. The new rules went into effect on Monday, April 18.

  • American University announced last week it would reinstate its mask mandate in all Washington, D.C., campus buildings starting April 12.
  • It joined Columbia, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins and Rice universities, which have also recently reinstated mask policies, according to the New York Times.

The big picture: The highly transmissible BA.2 subvariant of Omicron has sparked concerns about a possible surge.

  • An average of more than 31,000 new COVID cases across the country were detected as of Sunday, per the Times.
  • The new wave of university mask mandates comes after several prominent Washington officials tested positive after the Gridiron dinner last week.

But, but, but: A federal judge on Monday struck down the Biden administration's rule mandating masks on planes, trains and other forms of public transportation.

  • Shortly thereafter the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it would stop enforcing the rule.
  • The four largest airlines in the U.S. as well as a slate of companies — including Uber, Lyft and Amtrak — have dropped their masking requirements in response to the ruling.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details throughout.

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