The End of the Mask Mandate & Other COVID-19 Changes

The+End+of+the+Mask+Mandate+%26+Other+COVID-19+Changes

Dominique Menard, News Editor

After two long years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mask requirement on campus has been changed from “required” to “encouraged”. UND has implemented different strategies, like masks, to mitigate the spread of the virus. However, with a significant shift in transmission rates, and the Grand Forks County changing the status to “Green” due to the low number of cases, the university’s administration has decided to further relax guidelines (which was previously relaxed at the end of February). 

 

The shift from required to recommend will go into effect today, Monday March 28th. Even within this shift, there is still exclusions to the policy. The first exception is that faculty members have the option to require masks within their classrooms till the end of the Spring semester. The final exception is that masks will continue to be required at Student Health Services, COVID-19 testing sites, and programs with clinical requirements that place students or faculty members in contact with vulnerable patients. With the change, students are still encouraged to wear masks in and around the UND and Grand Forks community. 

 

Besides changes in masking requirements, there have also been adjustments with COVID-19 Testing. Wilkerson Commons will be discontinuing testing on Friday, April 29th. There will also be no testing at Wilkerson over Easter Weekend (April 15th-18th). Testing will continue over Easter Weekend at Student Health Services and Pollard Athletic Center. 

 

Changes have also been made to the student incentive program from COVID-19 testing. Vouchers of $10, that could be use at on-campus dining locations at Wilkerson or the Memorial Union, will be slowly phased out since cases are improving within the county. Students are still encouraged to test as often as they like, but the number of vouchers they will be eligible for as follows:

 

  • Between Monday, March 21, 2022 – Friday, April 1, 2022, students will be able to receive no more than 2 vouchers per week.
  • Between Monday, April 4, 2022 – Friday April 15, 2022, students will be able to receive no more that 1 voucher per week.
  • Vouchers will be discontinued as of Monday, April 18, 2022.

 

Students, faculty and staff are still expected to report COVID-19 cases and close-contacts to VEOCI till Thursday, May 5th. This is the last day of Spring classes. Following this date, reporting cases to the university will no longer be required. 

 

The distribution of free at-home COVID-19 testing kits is still occurring on campus. UND expects delivery form the state weekly and are allocated to students, faculty, and staff during normal business hours. There is a limit of two kits per person and are at no charge to the individual. The UND distribution site are as follows: 

  • Admissions, Gorecki Alumni Center
  • Aerospace, Room 200, Odegard Hall
  • Chester Fritz Library Knowledge Commons, 2nd Floor
  • EERC Front Lobby
  • Facilities, Room 120
  • Human Resources, 313 Twamley Hall
  • Office of Student Life, Room 140, School of Law
  • School of Medicine & Health Sciences, Room E468
  • Student Health, 100 McCannell Hall
  • Student Involvement, 144 Memorial Union
  • Wellness Center Welcome Desk
  • Wilkerson Commons, Room 111

The University will continue to provide students with hotel and meal accommodations to individuals who are identified as a close-contact or a positive case.

Even with these changes to COVID-19 procedures on campus, UND will continue to monitor local conditions and whether or not any more changes need to be made in the future. 

 

Dominique Menard is a Dakota Student News Editor. She can be reached at [email protected]