Masking encouraged, not required

After starting the fall semester with a three-week provisional mask mandate, Hamline has made the decision to move to COVID-19 Shift Plan Level 1.

Anika Besst, Aidan Stromdahl, and Lydia Bowen

Hamline University has moved to the newest masking policy decision two weeks into the fourth academic year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Hamline’s new masking expectations are in place as of Sept. 9 at 3 p.m.

Prior to this change, masking was required indoors in all buildings across campus. As of the latest change, masking will only be required indoors in any designated areas. Being up-to-date with the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters is now also required at this point. 

One designated masking area is the Counseling and Health office. Work and residence spaces can also be marked with the appropriate “mask required” signage, which can be picked up at the Anderson Center Service Desk. 

“Mask usage will be encouraged but not required on our campus in all locations not specifically signed as ‘mask required,’ including classrooms,” an email obtained by The Oracle on Sept. 9 said. 

This decision is in line with the Shift Plan Level 1. 

Before the 2022-23 school year began, the Dean of Student office sent an email on Aug. 22 informing students that masking would be required indoors for the last week preceding and first two weeks of the semester.

This decision was made by the Hamline University COVID-19 Executive Team. 

“The university, I think, has been very committed to creating and maintaining a safe environment around COVID. And that we’ve done a great job as a community doing the work that we’ve done, and the masking for these first three weeks I think was very important to be able to be at this place with going back to our shift level,” Patti Kersten, member of the COVID-19 Executive Team and Dean of Students, said. “We will continue to monitor it because we may need to make shifts in the future based on the information that we have, but I’m in full support of being able to allow individuals to make the decisions that, moving forward, if they choose to wear a mask or not wear a mask.” 

As of Sept. 6, Hamline had one student and three employees positive with COVID-19. 

A heads up about the update was also posted on Hamline’s Instagram account, hamlineu, on Sept. 8. 

For continued coverage on the COVID-19 pandemic and more, check back in at the Oracle.