Oklahoma State is tweaking its mask policy – kind of.
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, OSU officials changed the vocabulary for on-campus mask wearing from “encouraged” to “expected.” Sources confirmed to The O’Colly this is not an on-campus mask mandate. Oklahoma Executive Order 2021-16 bars any state agencies from requiring masks.
“Science continues to prove that mask wearing helps prevent the spread of COVID,” wrote Dr. Johnny Stephens, OSU’s Senior Vice President for Health Affairs, in a statement. “With evidence that the delta variant is more than twice as infectious and is leading to increased transmissibility when compared to other variants, even in vaccinated individuals, we must be vigilant as a campus community.”
The statement clarified mask wearing is expected indoors (classrooms, laboratories, indoor meetings and gatherings) and in public places on campus. On-campus signage will also be updated to reflect this update.
“Masks are being made widely available across the campus so that all students and employees will have access to masks,” Stephens wrote.
This change comes after Oklahoma announced 20,809 active COVID-19 cases Monday and a seven day rolling average of 2,113 daily new cases. The state recently announced 42.4% of Oklahomans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The university also announced President Kayse Shrum and other university officials will host a virtual town hall on Thursday at 4 p.m. to clarify any questions students may have about COVID-19 on campus. This will be broadcasted live on OStateTV.
“As always, we greatly appreciate your cooperation to keep our campus healthy and safe,” Stephens wrote.
This change took place after staff and faculty voiced concerns to university officials on OSU's response to COVID-19.