Lily Tenner | Mustang News

Cal Poly is reinstating its mask mandate for all on-campus facilities starting Tuesday and lasting at least until the end of Spring Commencement on Sunday, June 12. A campus-wide email sent Monday evening cited the rising rate of COVID-19 cases as reason for the mask mandate.

Current San Luis Obispo County orders masking to be “strongly recommended.” The same sentiment is shared for the larger state of California. Other California universities, including UCSB and UCLA, reinstated their mask mandate on May 27. For UCI, the commencement ceremony will require masking indoors.  

The resumption of the mask mandate comes after Cal Poly’s testing program saw 126 positive tests in the past week, with 85% of isolation beds occupied as of May 27. As of Monday, 75% of the beds were occupied.

Anthony Knight, Cal Poly’s executive director of public safety, wrote in the university email on Monday that the latest COVID-19 numbers are not as severe as the winter omicron surge, but are “still concerning from a health and safety standpoint.”

“When we informed the campus community in February that we were lifting the campus’s indoor mask mandate, we indicated that we would monitor health and safety conditions and would reinstate the mandate should those conditions require it,” Knight wrote. “Unfortunately, that time has come.”

More information will be sent out regarding the masking requirement for summer quarter within the next couple days, according to the email. Daily campus screener passes are still required to be completed. The email encouraged faculty and staff to check daily passes.

“We hope that requiring masks indoors will help us decrease the number of cases within our campus community, especially during finals and commencement,” Knight wrote.

N95 and surgical masks are available for free at the University Union, Kennedy Library and Recreation Center. According to the email, surgical masks will be available at the entrances of other large campus facilities as well.

Correction, May 31: This article was updated with the correct number of positive tests reported last week.