Western University drops mask mandate

Students walk across campus at Western University in London, Ont., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Robins

Western University announced Monday it is dropping its mask mandate effective immediately.

In an open letter to the Western community, the university’s academic vice-president Florentine Strzelczyk and operations and finance vice-president Lynn Logan said the move is aligned with the advice of public health.

In the letter, students and staff are strongly encouraged to continue masking when inside crowded indoor spaces like large classes.

“As we make this change, please be considerate of individuals who may ask you to wear a mask based on their personal circumstances,” reads part of the letter published late afternoon Monday.

The letter notes leaders of research labs will make health and safety decisions based on appropriate protocols for their lab environment.

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The move to drop the masking requirement when inside instructional spaces comes a little over two months after Western ended its COVID-19 vaccine policy.

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The controversial vaccine mandate that was announced last August was met with mixed reception. While the union representing the institution’s faculty praised the mandate, protests were held by those denouncing the booster mandate.

When announcing the dropping of the vaccine mandate, the school said masking would continue into 2023.

Western continues to ask students and staff to stay up to date with vaccinations, wear masks when in crowded spaces and stay home when feeling unwell.

— with files from Amy Simon

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