Updated Guidance: Masks Recommended Indoors

May 11, 2022

To: Members of the University Community
From: Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost and Katie Callow-Wright, Executive Vice President

In light of recent elevated COVID-19 metrics on campus and in the City of Chicago, and Chicago’s Community Risk Level being changed to “medium” last Friday, the University is recommending that individuals wear a mask in indoor settings when others are present.

This updated recommendation is informed by the Chicago Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) recommendation to wear a mask in indoor public settings, as well as guidance from experts at the University of Chicago Medicine. The City of Chicago has not reinstated masking requirements, and the University’s new guidance is a recommendation, not a mandate. While the decision to mask is your own, we ask that you carefully consider this extra precaution in shared indoor settings, including offices, classrooms, and public transportation, as part of our efforts to help prevent further increases in cases. With the weather warming, we also encourage you to take advantage of outdoor activities where the risk of COVID-19 is reduced. UChicago Medicine is maintaining its own masking policies.

The city’s COVID-19 positivity rate remains much lower than during the Omicron peak in early January, and citywide COVID-19 hospitalizations have changed little over the last month. Nevertheless, overall testing numbers may miss some cases because individuals increasingly are using home tests and may not report the results to the city. It is important for members of the UChicago community to continue to report new cases to C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu if you test positive.

We will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 metrics, seek counsel from public health experts, and make adjustments to policies if the situation warrants. Officials with the Chicago Department of Public Health have indicated they are unlikely to reinstate mask mandates unless Chicago moves from a medium to high community risk level.

Thank you for your continued diligence in taking precautions for the health of our community.