Timeline To Go “Mask-Optional”

Dear Campus Community:

With the latest CDC guidance on masks released at the end of February, we wanted to provide further update on K’s indoor masking requirement.

As previously announced, the College will continue to mask through the end of Winter term and through at least Week 1 of Spring term. Provided that we do not see a serious spike in COVID-19 cases following spring break, we anticipate changing our broad policy to “mask optional” during the second week of Spring term. Watch for communication on the effective date after the start of the term.

What does mask-optional mean? 

  • Masks will not be required as a general rule inside College buildings. They may still be required by faculty members or staff inside classroom spaces or in individual offices, or for gatherings.
    • In classes where masks are not required by the faculty member, students and faculty may still choose to wear a mask if they wish.
    • In classes where masks are required by the faculty member, all students must continue to wear a mask.
  • Masks may be required by athletics staff as needed in shared spaces (such as team busses or athletic training room spaces).
  • Mask-wearing is expected whenever you are experiencing symptoms of any illness, have a positive COVID-19 test, are awaiting test results or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. 
  • Members of the community should feel comfortable continuing to wear masks anywhere and anytime, if they prefer to do so. Even after we move to a mask optional policy, our expectation is that all the members of our community will accept and respect those individuals who choose to continue wearing masks.
  • Masks will be made available in campus buildings for those who need them.

Additionally, effective Week 2, the College will no longer require vaccinations for visitors who are attending outdoor-only events, such as outdoor sporting events. Up-to-date vaccinations will still be required for visitors who will be inside campus buildings for more than 15 minutes. Admission events and tours will also resume stops at the model residence hall room and Welles Dining Hall for lunch. (Admission guests are required to be vaccinated.)

Kalamazoo County is now at a “Medium” COVID-19 Community Level based on hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. We will continue to monitor local transmission and hospitalization rates in Kalamazoo County and will adjust should the data warrant a modification to our policy.

Thank you for your commitment, feedback and respect toward one another as we continue to navigate the challenges of the pandemic.

J. Malcolm Smith
Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students

Danette Ifert Johnson