Skip to content

Indoor face masking requirement goes back into effect for all University campuses

Key details


  • Effective Tuesday, August 10, 2021, the University of Rochester is reinstating a face-masking requirement for everyone.
  • The mask requirement is indoors specifically on the University’s campuses.
  • Face masks will be required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
  • Frequently asked questions are available for more details.

Full message

This message was sent to the University community via email on August 9, 2021.

As we prepare for the beginning of a new academic year and continue the return of many employees to on-campus work spaces, the University of Rochester is reinstating a face-masking requirement for everyone indoors on the University’s campuses and properties, regardless of vaccination status. This requirement is in effect Tuesday, August 10 until further notice.

The University is taking this action in light of the emergence of Delta variant COVID-19 cases in the Rochester area, and in accordance with updated Monroe County and CDC recommendations for wearing face masks indoors. It is intended to be a temporary safety measure until COVID transmission rates have declined sufficiently in Monroe County, and as COVID-19 case numbers remain low at the University; visit the University’s COVID-19 Dashboard for updates on confirmed cases on all University campuses.

All students, faculty, staff, visitors, and tenants—including those who are fully vaccinated—must wear a face mask while indoors on any of the University’s campuses and properties. At the Medical Center, the policies and guidelines for the “blue zone” (patient care areas) for now remain unchanged. For more specific details on the face mask requirements on the Medical Center campus, see the COVID-19/Redesigned intranet portal (URMC credentials required).

This University-wide face-masking mandate differs from policies in place during the last academic year in that physical distancing is not currently part of the requirement. As part of the current mandate:

  • Fully vaccinated students, faculty, and staff who are alone and not in a public or shared space may unmask.
  • Any in-person meetings or group activities in conference rooms or other indoor spaces should be conducted with everyone being masked—regardless of vaccination status.
  • In the classroom, fully vaccinated instructors who can maintain greater than 6 feet distance from all class participants can unmask while instructing; class attendees must remain masked and the instructor should re-mask when class instruction is complete.
  • When eating in Rochester Dining locations or other public or shared spaces on campus, everyone should remain masked up to the point of starting a snack, or meal, remove their face mask to eat, and then re-mask when done.
  • In on-campus student living spaces, students may be unmasked in their room with their roommate(s) or “family unit” (family units are defined in the FAQ). All other times, students should be masked.
  • Outdoors, everyone who is not fully vaccinated should wear a face mask on campus when physical distancing isn’t possible.
  • Face masks continue to be required for everyone on the University shuttles.
  • More detailed instructions will be forthcoming and available on the FAQ for classes, performances, and practices in the musical and other performing arts, as well as athletics.

Disposable face masks will be available at multiple locations around the University’s campuses. Students returning to Rochester for the semester are encouraged to bring with them a few reusable face masks to use, and all first-year students, as well as students new to campus, will be given a cloth University of Rochester face mask.

The University’s Coronavirus University Restart Team (CURT) and senior leadership continue to actively monitor pandemic conditions and will implement measures that help protect the health and well-being of all University community members. Further announcements will be made when this indoor face mask mandate can be lifted.

Again, thank you for your contribution to the health and safety of our community.


Sarah C. Mangelsdorf
President and G. Robert Witmer, Jr. University Professor

Mark B. Taubman
CEO, University of Rochester Medical Center and Dean, School of Medicine and Dentistry

Sarah E. Peyre
Interim Provost

Kathleen Gallucci
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

Return to the top of the page