Updated as of Feb. 28, 2022 at 7:38 p.m. to include information from a professor.
The new mask optional policy will begin during Spring Break. The university strongly encourages students, faculty and staff who are unvaccinated or immunocompromised to continue wearing masks indoors, but will not require it.
The mask policy applies to vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, however unvaccinated individuals are still required to test weekly.
“Elon endorses the rights of everyone to make their own personal choices about wearing masks,” Stein wrote in the email.
Stein did not respond to Elon News Network's immediate request for comment.
Masks will still be required for Student Health Services, Faculty-Staff Wellness Clinic, the asymptomatic testing center in McCoy Commons and Health Sciences medical outreach programs, as well as for anyone experiencing COVID-like symptoms and five days after completion of a five-day isolation period after a positive test.
Not everyone is for the change. Psychology professor Katherine King said she is against Elon University lifting the indoor mask requirement and said she would like the masks to stay, even though Alamance and Guilford counties have lifted the mask mandate.
“I'm just not at all comfortable with, that we need to learn to live with the virus,” King said. “That was even in the memo that Jeff Stein sent out today. That to me is wrongheaded.
The Center for Disease Control announced on Friday, Feb. 25 a loosened mask guidance, focusing more on community hospitalizations rather than cases. Under the new guidance, the majority of Americans will no longer be advised to wear masks in indoor public settings.
The university will offer free N-95 or KN-95 masks at the front desk of the Moseley Center for those who would like to continue wearing one.
The CDC’s announcement also aligns with schools across Alamance and Guilford counties ending their mask mandates for students and staff.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper encouraged cities and schools to lift requirements by Monday, March 7.
Brigham Young University, Carleton College and Marist College are among the most recent colleagues and universities to lift their mandates.
The University of Richmond and Villanova University, a member of Elon's peer institution list, lifted theirs with faculty discretion.
When students return to class after spring break, King said that she will still require students to wear masks in her classes, and if they choose not to, she will ask them to join online.
“We say we do things at Elon, that we want an inclusive campus, we value the well being of everyone,” King said. “This to me is not valuing the well being of faculty and staff and students who are at higher risk than others.”