Colleges and universities across the United States have reinstated mask mandates and other protective measures against COVID-19 as cases of the virus increase across the country.
The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Penn State University, the University of Hawaiʻi, the University of Delaware (UD) and others have reinstituted mask mandates in all indoor campus spaces. Rice University reinstated their mask mandate in classrooms in response to the national uptick in COVID-19 infections.
Many universities continue to monitor student health via weekly COVID-19 testing and symptom monitoring. According to a UCLA statement, the campus has made tests available to the campus community via vending machines and distribution centers.
The University of Delaware highlighted the heightened risk level at the end of the academic year, noting, "This is a special time of year with many celebratory events as we mark the end of the academic year at UD, including Commencement and convocations, so it’s important that we all take every step possible to safeguard the health of ourselves and those around us. This means wearing a face mask indoors, getting tested and staying home when you are sick."
The Omicron subvariant BA.12.2.1 has become the dominant COVID-19 variant in the United States, the New York Times reported. As of May 17, 2022, over one million people have died due to COVID-19 in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over half of U.S. residents have had a COVID-19 infection.