George Mason University will start the semester as planned on Jan. 24 with a mix of hybrid, in-person and online classes.
Some public health officials are recommending a more substantial face covering than traditional cloth face covering to prevent the spread of the omicron variant.
Mason is committed to providing community members with mask options, and has ordered 180,000 N95 masks for the campus community, to be delivered in multiple shipments. The first batch of 35,000 is expected to arrive this week.
“We are grateful to Mason’s purchasing department for sourcing such a large quantity of N95 respirators when they are in high demand," said David Farris, Mason’s executive director of safety and emergency management. "This order will help our community contend with the current surge in COVID cases and provide a better barrier to COVID transmission.”
Masks are part of a multilayered strategy that includes getting booster shots and uploading proof of boosters by Feb. 15, participating in surveillance testing, using the Mason COVID Health Check when planning to be present on campus or to report positive COVID test, physical distancing, using good hand hygiene and staying home when unwell.
In addition, residential students are required to test before move-in, nonresidential students will be invited to test on a similar schedule as fall 2021, and faculty and staff who will not be fully remote will be asked to test Jan. 18-23. Get more details on surveillance testing.
Masks will be available at the testing centers on all campuses. They will also be available at information booths and at the Stearns Center on the Fairfax Campus.
In addition, the university plans to stock KN95 masks in its Vengo vending machines on the Fairfax, Arlington, and SciTech campuses by next Friday, Jan. 21.
As a reminder, masks are required in all indoor settings, except when eating or drinking or when in a private enclosed space such as an office or residence hall room.