Portland State University announced on Thursday, March 3 that it will be ending its current mask mandate. Starting March 19, masks will no longer be required in classrooms, offices or any indoor campus space. The university’s end date comes a week after the Oregon Health Authority is slated to end any statewide mask mandate.
Restrictions will remain in a few specific locations on campus. The first of these is at the Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) building. Masks will be required during any SHAC appointment in line with state law that makes masks mandatory in health care settings.
Another PSU service required to continue the current mask policy are campus childcare providers. The Helen Gordon Child Development Center, ASPSU Childcare Center and both the Little Viking and Baby Viking centers will still require mask use for the foreseeable future. The reason given for maintaining this policy is that many of the children cared for in these centers are ineligible to receive any COVID-19 vaccination.
School-related programs that occur off campus—including externships and practicums—are independent of direct school policy, and may continue current mask policies at their own discretion. Students are directed to follow any mask rules requested by said programs.
The announcement briefly touches on advised interactions between students and colleagues on campus, stating that everyone should be treated with respect—no matter if they choose to wear a mask or not. Notably, the announcement denounces anyone from requesting another member of the PSU community to put on a mask.
PSU stated the decision to lift mask requirements came after discussing the issue with the Oregon Health Authority and Multnomah County Health Department. The school also said that it has monitored the current public health environment closely. Factors referenced in the decision include regional decline in COVID-19 cases, decline in hospitalizations due to the virus and a very high vaccination rate within the PSU community.