UND implements mask requirement for indoor public spaces

In this Aug. 22 message to the campus community, UND President Andy Armacost describes the University’s response to COVID-19’s latest challenge

UND archival image.

We continue monitoring the trajectory of COVID-19 and Delta variant to consider actions that will allow us to deliver the educational mission of the University most effectively. The increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Grand Forks has now placed the county in the CDC’s high (red) level of transmission.

To enable us to continue operating normally in the early days of this semester, the University of North Dakota will implement a mask requirement for indoor public spaces. Public spaces are defined as hallways, classrooms, open seating lounges and teaching laboratories, but not individual offices or private living spaces.

The specific requirements go into effect on Monday, Aug. 23, and are as follows:

Masks are required in the public spaces of the following buildings: academic buildings, administrative buildings, the Chester Fritz Library, Student Health Services, and the University Children’s Learning Center. This includes Wilkerson Commons and the Memorial Union, except when one is eating in those facilities. University business conducted in non-university facilities, such as admissions activities at the Gorecki Center, are also covered by this requirement.

Masks are strongly encouraged in all other public spaces. These include facilities such as residence hall common areas, campus apartment common areas, the Wellness Center, and athletic facilities. When meetings are scheduled in residence hall common areas, masks will be required.

Like you, I have developed the habit of having a mask or two with me at all times. Please continue to do so, as your trips around campus might take you into spaces with a mask requirement.

Widespread use of masks drastically reduces the number of people required to quarantine following a positive case of COVID-19, by state Department of Health policy. This simple step of wearing masks when we are in groups will blunt the impact of quarantines and allow us to most effectively continue our on-campus education.

UND will continue to monitor COVID-19 cases, consult with local and state health officials, follow CDC guidelines, and make needed adjustments as the situation evolves. The safety of our students, faculty, staff, and the entire community remains our top priority.

Finally, I must continue to stress the importance of vaccinations in reducing your risk of infection and in protecting those around you on campus and in the greater Grand Forks community. Getting vaccinated continues to represent the fastest, safest, most effective way to return UND to the normal operating environment we all desire.

Thank you for your understanding and patience as together we work through this latest challenge. If you have questions, please speak with your leadership, who may direct those questions to me and the Executive Council. Preventative steps such as masking allow us to continue our educational mission and to give our students, faculty, and staff meaningful experiences by being together as a community.

Andrew Armacost
University of North Dakota