The University of Florida is no longer requiring students, faculty, staff and visitors to wear a mask on campus and will return to pre-COVID normal operations in late June.
The change, announced Monday, comes several days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to say that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks except at some places. UF said it still recommends people who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to continue wearing masks, as the CDC recommended.
Masks will also still be required in UF Health hospitals, dentistry practices and veterinary hospitals, the university said. UF’s summer term began May 10.
The university said its decision to make masks optional was done in concert with the State University System, which is made up of Florida’s 12 public universities and is overseen by a chancellor and governed by the Florida Board of Governors.
The change also puts the Gainesville university one step closer to resuming pre-COVID normal operations on June 28 for the 2021-2022 academic year. That includes returning to pre-pandemic classroom capacity for the Summer B and Fall semesters and resuming full in-person participation in athletics and other activities, according to UF.
And, 90,000 fans will once again be permitted at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium this fall, according to First Coast News.
A university spokesman told the Independent Alligator that experts at UF Health estimate between 70% and 80% of UF students have been vaccinated. The estimate is based on informal polls at the testing site, conversations with staff and students, and UF Health’s own vaccination numbers.