Masking guidance from UIC contact tracing
On Feb. 9, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that he hoped to lift the mask mandate in most indoor locations by the end of the month. The CDC continues to endorse mask wearing for all individuals age 2 and older, regardless of vaccination status, as an essential part of protecting themselves and others from COVID-19.
At this time, the removal of the masking requirement in Illinois will not extend to schools, health care settings, public transportation and daycare settings, among others. As such, masking will continue to be required in all spaces on UIC’s campus.
It is possible that masking requirements will loosen in certain non-classroom spaces in the future; however, this decision will hinge on the occurrence of sustained decreases in COVID-19 incidence on our campus and in the communities that surround us. Rest assured that when incidence trends support a relaxation in masking requirements, pertinent guidance will be promptly provided to our campus.
The UIC Contact Tracing and Epidemiology Program would like to remind you of the following:
- Masking continues to be endorsed by the CDC in areas with substantial or high community transmission. Currently, all counties in the state of Illinois are reporting high rates of COVID-19 transmission.
- Masking is especially important for individuals who are not vaccinated, or not up to date on their vaccinations, but also for those with weakened immune systems or at high risk for severe COVID-19.
- To offer the best protection, masks should be well-fitted over the nose, mouth and chin and should be adequately thick. Other considerations to maximize protection include wearing a disposable mask under a cloth mask (double masking) and choosing a mask with a nose wire. Other masks, like KN95s and N95s, can offer enhanced protection; however, be sure to choose the correct mask for you.
Despite the increase of in-person activities in late January, we continue to see low incidence on campus. Our data shows that masking plays an essential role in keeping our classrooms and campus spaces safe. Since our program has been operational, we have only seen one possible instance of transmission in the classroom. Thus, it is critical that we continue to do our part to protect our loved ones and community members.