Updated Aug 2, 2021 - COVID
Mask mandate returns to University of Minnesota
goldy the gopher with a mask
Goldy the Gopher won't be the only one wearing a mask on campus. Photo: Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via Getty Images

The University of Minnesota is reinstating its indoor mask mandate for all students, staff and campus visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

Driving the news: U of M president Joan Gabel cited concerns about the Delta variant, which is driving higher transmission rates here in Minnesota and across the nation, in a letter announcing the change that takes effect Tuesday.

  • "Wearing a mask or facial covering indoors has been shown to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and, as we saw as a nation, virtually eliminate other airborne illnesses like the flu," Gabel wrote.

The details: The mandate applies to all "campuses, offices, and facilities" statewide, starting Aug. 3.

Between the lines: Students living in university housing don't have to wear masks inside their assigned room without guests, but face coverings will be required in shared spaces, such as hallways and bathrooms, and when people besides their roommate are present in their room, a spokesperson told us.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is requiring masks on campuses located in counties seeing elevated levels of community spread, per the Star Tribune.

Of note: Neither system is requiring students or staff to get vaccinated, though both are encouraging the shots.

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