COVID-19 Decision Group releases new mask policy

Students no longer required to wear face coverings outdoors

On May 19th, Seattle Pacific University’s COVID-19 Decision Group sent out an email to the student body announcing that face coverings are no longer required outdoors on the SPU campus. This announcement comes a week after the Center for Disease Control’s statement that vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks unless otherwise mandated by federal, state, or local laws.

“Face coverings are not required outdoors on the SPU campus. Those who are not fully vaccinated (two weeks past the final dose) should continue to follow CDC safety guidelines such as physical distancing and wearing face coverings when unable to maintain six feet of separation,” the email reads.

However, face coverings will still be required indoors through the rest of the quarter, as SPU administration and staff have no way of monitoring who has been vaccinated.

The email went on to provide further clarity on policies regarding events and activities, based on state and country regulations. 

Outdoor gatherings of up to 50 participants are allowed if social distancing measures are followed and the gathering does not include food, and outdoor gatherings that include food are allowed for up to 10 participants. Indoor gatherings without food will be allowed with face coverings for up to 10 participants, as long as the room capacity allows that size group. 

“If adhering to these guidelines, it is no longer necessary to seek approval from the COVID-19 Decision Group for gatherings,” the email explained.

Dean of Students for Community Life, Chuck Strawn, hopes that this new policy will encourage students to interact more with each other outside.

“Hopefully, we’ll create an environment where people can feel more comfortable being together. They’re still gonna stay six feet apart, but it’s one less thing you have to worry about in terms of, you know, being masked, particularly for vaccinated [students],” Strawn said.