UCLA on Thursday announced it is reinstating universal indoor masking beginning Friday due to a rise in coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County and on campus.
University officials revealed that the campus saw close to 870 new COVID-19 cases last week, placing it at a “severe” level.
“It is important for us to respond to the current trends so that we can reduce the risk of infection without disruption to in-person learning and campus activities, including commencement celebrations,” officials said in a news release. “To stay ahead of the curve, our campus is taking several proactive measures.”
They include mandatory masking in indoor areas, weekly testing and monitoring, and “strongly” discouraging eating and drinking at indoor gatherings.
Well-fitting masks will be required indoors through June 15 and the mandate is subject to extension, officials said.
All students, staff, faculty affiliates and visitors will need to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.
They will also be “highly recommended” in off-campus settings.
Exceptions include non-UCLA owned buildings, performing arts rehearsals and performances, indoor dining and when in a room alone.
Officials also laid out details for upcoming commencement ceremonies taking place indoors:
All attendees will be required to wear masks indoors, including university affiliates and guests.
Speakers may remove their masks while delivering graduation addresses, and graduates may “momentarily” remove masks while walking across the stage and while being photographed on or near the stage.
Free, upgraded masks are available at the UCLA emergency PPE supply store, the John Wooden Center, residence hall front desks, the Student Activities Center and the Ackerman Union at the A-level information window.
On Thursday, L.A. County reported 6,245 new coronavirus cases. While masking is no longer required throughout the region, public health officials still strongly encourage residents to mask up to help stop the spread of the virus, especially amid the current uptick in cases.
Last week, the county became the only one in Southern California to move into the CDC’s “medium” risk level.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer indicated that masking would once again be required indoors if the region is designated a high community level.