UA to end mask mandate, phase out COVID-19 services Feb. 21


Grace Schepis | @GraceSchepisCW, Staff Reporter

The University of Alabama will lift the campus mask mandate and phase out COVID-19 protocols beginning Monday, Feb. 21.

Citing “plummeting case numbers and the widespread availability of vaccines and treatments,” the University announced the policy change in a Feb. 15 email to students. 

“Our campus team has thoroughly reviewed the best available information and considered our own experience in addressing COVID over the past two years,” Dr. Richard Friend, dean of the College of Community Health Sciences, said. “The University has provided the indispensable service of education, while protecting our community. This is the next phase in continuing our essential mission.” 

Mask-wearing will still be required on public transportation and in patient care facilities on campus. Unvaccinated individuals are still encouraged to wear a mask across campus and limit interactions with others. 

COVID-19 case management and hotline services will be available on a limited basis.

The UA System COVID-19 dashboard reported 23 student and 24 employee cases between Feb. 7 and Feb. 13. Student case numbers peaked for the academic year at 393 the week of Jan. 17. 

“The University decision comes at the recommendation of the campus’ Situational Response Team, which includes experts with epidemiological, medical and other expertise,” the email said. “Other public health officials, including the Alabama Department of Public Health, were also consulted.”

On-campus quarantine and isolation spaces will be gradually phased out through the rest of the semester as they have seen low to no usage.