ASU ‘strongly recommending’ face masks as fall semester approaches
PHOENIX – With a new semester fast approaching, Arizona State University said Friday it is now “strongly recommending” that everybody wears face masks inside campus buildings.
Public universities and community colleges can’t require face coverings or COVID-19 vaccines under an executive order issued by Gov. Doug Ducey on June 15.
Ducey issued the executive order to block ASU from implementing a planned indoor and outdoor face mask requirement. The public college ban on mask and vaccine mandates was later passed into law as part of the state budget and will take effect Sept. 29.
ASU does, however, require masks in certain health care centers and on campus shuttles.
“Those requirements may extend further to select buildings and at events that may pose a higher risk of transmission,” the school said in an coronavirus policy update. “Notification will be provided in advance of events and/or at building entrances if face covers are required.
“Consistent with the governor’s executive order and the CDC guidelines, we are not making distinctions between the vaccinated and unvaccinated. This will apply to all individuals regardless of their vaccination status.”
The announcement comes as the fast-spreading delta variant of COVID-19 is driving case and hospitalization numbers to their highest levels in months.
Based on new data about the delta variant, the CDC now recommends that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks in public indoor settings in parts of the U.S. classified as having substantial or high transmission.
ASU expects to have 75,000 students on campus when the fall semester starts Aug. 19.
“With the start of the fall semester a few weeks away, we must remain vigilant and take modest steps to protect all community members so that we can continue to fulfill our mission,” Friday’s update said.
“Doing so is part of our Community of Care and recognizes our fundamental and shared responsibility for the health and safety of our campus environments and the tens of thousands of people who study, work and visit here.”