Masks now optional indoors on Gannon’s campuses

Posted: February 23, 2022

Effective immediately, face masks will be optional across Gannon University’s Erie and Ruskin campuses.

This is the second time during this long journey with the pandemic that we’ve lifted this university mandate requiring the wearing of masks inside university buildings. The decision to remove the requirement, while recommending individual judgment in personal mask use, reflects our high vaccination rates and the vastly reduced incidence of COVID-19 among our faculty, staff, and students.

We congratulate our Gannon community for reaching beyond the national and regional rates of vaccination and the targets we had set for such policy change nearly a year ago. Our latest Gannon community case numbers also reflect, and are even lower than, what we are seeing in both Erie and Hillsborough counties. The disease is in fast retreat after spiking in December and January.

However, the disease is still quite present in our environment and so there are some who we would recommend still wear face masks. We strongly recommend that unvaccinated individuals continue to wear face masks. Our testing and contact tracing has shown that unvaccinated individuals are by far the most likely to contract the virus and pose the highest risk of transmission to others. Continued mask wearing will provide additional protection for you and those you interact with each day and limit the likelihood of you being required to quarantine should those around you contract the disease.

In order to continue to monitor the prevalence of the virus within our community, we will continue our mandatory weekly surveillance testing program for all unvaccinated students, staff, and faculty, athletes in accordance with their NCAA required testing, and any individuals who experience symptoms regardless of their vaccination status. 

We particularly encourage anyone experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms to avoid campus and reach out to our nurses via the LiveSafe app. If you are sick, do not come to campus.

In addition, we ask that we all show respect for our classmates and colleagues who might still prefer to wear masks for any reason. We encourage you to carry a mask with you in case they request you to wear it around them. This is not required per the updated policy but is aligned with our standards of behavior respecting others and supporting the well-being of all.

We have collectively worked to create a healthy environment where we can pursue our studies or our livelihood, and this is a significant moment for the Gannon community in its fight against COVID-19. We believe the combination of low case counts and having more than 80 percent of all of our population groups vaccinated provides this chance to take one more step toward a new normal.

We will continue to monitor case counts in our communities and among our Gannon population. For now, this change will go into effect immediately and we hope it is permanent.

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