WINNIPEG — The University of Manitoba has extended its mask mandate into the 2023 winter term.
The U of M is the last major post-secondary institution in Manitoba to still have a mask mandate in effect to limit transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.
In a letter published Monday, president and vice-chancellor Dr. Michael Benarroch said the mandate is to continue supporting a safe work and learning environment.
“We made this decision after consulting with public health experts and our UM community,” he said. “We have heard from many of you, and we recognize that there is a diverse range of perspectives on the current need for masks. At this time, many in our community continue to ask that UM maintain its mask policy to support a safe in-person environment.”
The U of M policy requires masks be worn in all common spaces on campus, including classrooms, labs doorways, corridors, work spaces, libraries and study spaces. Exceptions are made when working alone in a closed space and when eating or drinking.
The policy, however, isn’t enforced inside Wayne Fleming Arena during Winnipeg ICE hockey games, where close to all attendees, including most game day staff, are maskless.
A previous inquiry by ChrisD.ca to university officials on why this is wasn’t directly answered and a spokesperson pointed to the U of M’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols website.
Benarroch admits the U of M can’t have a mask mandate indefinitely and says the administration will look at easing the requirement when it is safer to do so.