On Thursday, March 3, the Washington College Contingency Planning Group announced via email that, based on recent guideline updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Kent County’s classification of Chestertown as having low community spread of COVID-19; and the College’s own low risk levels and high vaccination rate, the campus will be “transitioning from a universal indoor mask mandate to being mask optional.”
According to the email, this decision will be left “solely up to the individual” and will be “made based on their own personal risk factors and level of comfort” in any learning space, including classrooms and labs.
However, the CPG noted that, despite this progress, it is still strongly recommended that individuals continue to wear masks in indoor public areas in the following scenarios: if they are “experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms,” including a fever, a runny or stuffy nose, a sore throat, or congestion; if they were in close contact to someone who tested positive for COVID-19; if they are unvaccinated or are not fully vaccinated; or if they have underlying health concerns that increase personal risk factors.
The email says that individuals cannot override the policy with a mask requirement in their own classes, groups, or other meetings.
It also encourages community members to respect the mask-wearing decisions of other individuals.
According to the email, masks are still required for individuals visiting the Counseling Center or Health Services, including those who have appointments for COVID-19 testing.
Additionally, while this campus-wide policy is subject to change, particularly with spring break on the horizon, the College will continue to update the campus regarding this decision.
“While this situation remains fluid and we can’t predict what future challenges we may face, we are thankful to be in a stable place where we can make this change,” the email said.