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Updated Masking Requirements

August 2, 2021

To: Members of the University Community
From: Katie Callow-Wright, Executive Vice President of the University and Chief of Staff in the Office of the President
Subject: Updated Masking Requirements
Date: August 1, 2021

On Tuesday, July 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its guidance for fully vaccinated people, including issuing a new recommendation that fully vaccinated individuals wear a mask indoors in public in areas of substantial or high transmission of COVID-19. According to the CDC, this action will reduce the risk of being infected with the virus’s Delta variant and possibly spreading it to others. Cook County, where the University of Chicago is located, is an area with a “substantial” level of community transmission of COVID-19, according to the most recent CDC data.

In light of this new information, the University is revising its masking requirements, effective August 2, 2021. This change is consistent with recommendations from the CDC, the Chicago Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and experts at UChicago Medicine. 

  • Indoors –
    • Unvaccinated and fully vaccinated individuals are required to wear a face covering over the nose and the mouth at all times while in University buildings, with the following limited exceptions:
      • Private spaces – An individual may remove their face coverings if they are in a private room/office alone with the door closed.
      • Eating and Drinking – A fully vaccinated individual may remove their face coverings to eat or drink. An unvaccinated individual may remove their face coverings to eat or drink so long as they maintain six feet of social distance from others.
  • Outdoors – Masking is not required for people who are outdoors on campus grounds, though face coverings may still be required at certain outdoor events and programming.

Members of the community might choose to wear a mask outdoors or in other situations in which masks are not required, regardless of vaccination status or level of transmission, for various reasons. These reasons may include, according to the CDC, “if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.” We ask everyone to respect others’ decisions, act with consideration and respect regarding these choices, and refrain from asking questions about the reasons why others are wearing face coverings in cases where they are not required.

Please remember to continue self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19, stay home if you are sick, and get tested if you have symptoms or have been in contact with someone with a known or suspected case of the virus. Regardless of your vaccination status, all members of the UChicago community are required to promptly self-report at C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu if you test positive for COVID-19, experience symptoms, or have been exposed to COVID-19 in accordance with the University’s Protocol for Addressing Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19 Exposures.

University masking requirements may continue to evolve based on new guidance from the State of Illinois, City of Chicago, and the number of COVID-19 cases and rates of transmission, risk from COVID-19 variants, or sudden clusters of COVID-19 cases on campus. Please monitor the UChicago Forward website for the latest masking guidance.

Thank you for your continued support of the health and safety of our community and our neighbors.

UChicagoSocial: UChicago Student Wellness