Cornell and Yale Bring Back Masks for Indoor Spaces as Delta Upends Plans

Yale and Cornell are reinstating requirements that all individuals wear masks in most indoor campus spaces, joining other colleges in efforts to combat the fast-spreading delta variant.

Many colleges are taking steps to limit infections as they return students to campus. With vaccines reducing Covid-19 cases, or the severity of cases that occur, administrators hoped for a more normal semester, particularly since many students deferred attendance last year. Many are also mandating vaccinations for the new semester.

Under Yale University’s policy, masks must be worn regardless of vaccination status effective Monday, the New Haven, Connecticut-based school said Friday. Exceptions will be made for those working alone in a segregated space, such as a private office or in a partitioned cubicle.

The decision was made after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that New Haven County had reached a “substantial” level of delta transmission, school officials said. The agency recently updated guidance recommending that everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, mask indoors in public spaces when local conditions are at a “substantial” or “high” level of viral transmission.

Cornell University, based in Ithaca, New York, updated its masking guidance late Friday. All faculty, staff, students and visitors will now be required to wear masks when inside campus buildings or facilities.

“This increase is also occurring in Tompkins County, where health officials have reported 15 new positive cases today, bringing the total of new positive cases in the county over the past seven days to 59,” the school said in a statement. “These cases have been attributed to large indoor gatherings and domestic travel.”

Brown University is resuming required routine asymptomatic Covid-19 testing for all students, faculty and staff. It had discontinued that for vaccinated individuals about a month ago. The testing will begin Aug. 16.

“We believe this is a reasonable and appropriate measure to help ensure a safe and healthy fall,” Russell Carey, executive vice president for planning and policy, said in a July 27 letter to students of the Providence, Rhode Island, school.

At Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, face masks will be required at school-owned and leased buildings, regardless of vaccination status, officials said. Masks will not be required in on-campus residence halls where there’s a significantly lower risk of exposure for high-risk individuals, Duke Provost Sally Kornbluth and Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president, administration, said in a July 28 letter to students.

Yale Provost Scott Strobel and Jack Callahan, senior vice president of operations, reminded the Yale community on Friday that they must document their vaccine status or exemption by Aug. 1.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.