The UNC System announced on Friday that its institutions should make wearing masks indoors optional by March 7.
The change will not affect UNC-Chapel Hill at this time, as Orange County leaders announced last week that the county's indoor mask mandate would remain in place, Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said in a campus-wide announcement Friday.
The UNC System announcement follows Gov. Roy Cooper’s Feb. 17 recommendation that schools and local governments end mask mandates starting March 7.
"In making the transition to these new protocols, I expect all campuses to continue providing your students with the in-person classroom instruction they expect and deserve, consistent with your current course modality plans and campus policies," UNC System President Peter Hans wrote in a memo sent to chancellors on Friday.
University masking implications
If the Orange County Health Departments lifts the county's indoor mask mandate, the University will follow suit in accordance with the latest UNC System guidance, Guskiewicz said in the email.
Based on testing data since January, UNC has an 11.24 percent COVID-19 positivity, according to the University's dashboard as of Friday. Also since January, UNC has reported a total of 3,587 positive cases — 3,116 in students and 471 in employees.
"One of the reasons we have been able to mitigate spread on our campus, even during the omicron variant earlier this year, is the adherence to the COVID-19 Community Standards by so many of you each day," Guskiewicz said. "We know you are wearing your mask, getting boosted, staying home when sick and testing when necessary."
Other UNC System institutions have lifted mandates. Following the UNC System announcement, Appalachian State University announced it would lift its indoor mask requirement on March 7.