Indoor masking will no longer be mandatory at main campus and affiliate colleges, effective immediately, Western announced on Wednesday.

While masks are no longer required at Western, Ontario’s public health guidelines strongly encourage mask-wearing in indoor settings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The university’s announcement asks that campus community members respect those who continue to wear masks.

Masks will still be required for individuals with COVID-19 symptoms, at upcoming graduation ceremonies and for those in community-facing settings such as healthcare learners. Provincially, masks are required indoors for 10 days following symptom onset or a positive COVID-19 test.

The announcement comes in anticipation of the beginning of the summer academic term in July. It follows the end of most remaining mask mandates across the province on June 11, including on public transit and in hospitals.

Western joins universities across the province, including the University of Toronto, Queen’s University and McMaster University, in ending mandatory indoor masking.

Despite changes to mask requirements across the province, many public health experts, including Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table, strongly support the continuation of indoor masking requirements in high-risk settings.

Western’s COVID-19 vaccination policy remains in effect — all campus community members are still required to be vaccinated with at least two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. The university also strongly recommends getting vaccine booster doses in accordance with public health guidelines. In its update, Western reiterated its intention to review its vaccination policy before Sept. 1.

Along with the continuing vaccination requirement, community members are still asked to complete their daily COVID-19 symptom screening prior to visiting campus.

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