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Eastern Washington University moves up timeframe to lift indoor mask mandate

UPDATED: Wed., March 9, 2022

Students walk through Eastern Washington University’s campus between classes on April 12, 2019, in Cheney.  (TYLER TJOMSLAND)
Students walk through Eastern Washington University’s campus between classes on April 12, 2019, in Cheney. (TYLER TJOMSLAND)

Eastern Washington University has moved up the date the school will make face masks optional on campus.

EWU’s indoor mask requirement will end Saturday, aligning with the date Gov. Jay Inslee set to lift the statewide mandate.

The university previously planned to end the requirement later this month based on a date initially set by Inslee last month. The governor, citing declining COVID-19 hospitalization and case rates, moved up the time frame last week.

Interim President David May said the decision was based on multiple factors including health data and recommendations from local, state and federal health agencies.

“The majority of Eastern faculty, staff and students who completed the university’s survey on this matter also favored the March 12 date,” May said in his statement.

Washington State University, Whitworth University and the Community Colleges of Spokane also are lifting the mandate this week. Gonzaga University’s requirement will end March 26.

The move makes masks optional in classrooms, academic buildings and residence halls on EWU’s Cheney campus and the Catalyst building in Spokane.

Masks still will be required on public transportation and in medical facilities.

“Currently, vaccination rates in our community are strong,” May said, “and as we have moved through the winter quarter and the first half of the spring semester, we have seen case rates on campus continuing to fall to levels that are currently near zero.”

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