Grand Canyon University prepares for fall semester with no mask, vaccine mandates

Aug 31, 2021, 4:05 AM | Updated: 2:17 pm
(KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)...
(KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)
(KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)

PHOENIX — Grand Canyon University had its move-in day Monday for the fall semester, which will start without mask or vaccine mandates as the school prepares for its largest freshman class in history.

GCU President Brian Mueller said the decision to not require mitigation strategies stemmed from low COVID-19 numbers to end the spring semester and throughout the summer.

He didn’t rule out a change in policy if the private university, which is welcoming about 9,000 new students, sees high infection rates.

“We felt like we were having some success in what we were doing this summer and we are continuing that to this fall,” Mueller said.

Mueller added that over 95% of GCU faculty and other university staff are vaccinated, which aided in the decision against some mitigation practices.

Masks will only be required in select areas, such as labs and some music classes, Mueller said.

Freshman Hailey Wubben, a psychology major from Washington, said she was looking forward to not having to wear a mask on campus.

“It’s nice to come here and have it be more open and to see people’s faces and all that,” Wubben said.

The state’s three public universities — Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona — all required face coverings in indoor settings in specific situations at the start of the fall semester.

ASU’s mitigation procedures were updated to require face coverings in certain indoor settings where physical distancing may not be possible, including classrooms and teaching or research labs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that even vaccinated people wear masks in public indoor settings.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

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Grand Canyon University prepares for fall semester with no mask, vaccine mandates