EUGENE, Ore.-- Policies requiring face masks inside campus buildings are now in place at the University of Oregon and Oregon State University.
Though county-wide mask requirements are primarily impacting counties in the Portland area, both UO and OSU are implementing the requirements as preventative measures before in-person classes return to campus in the fall and late summer respectively.
Students, staff, faculty and visitors are required to wear masks inside the buildings. Those working alone in a room, people in gyms with barriers and students inside their own residence hall rooms are exempt. An exception also exists for those who have conditions preventing them from wearing a mask.
"Face coverings are one of the primary ways that people throughout the world can help reduce the risk and spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. So in our case, they are an essential element of our resumption planning," said OSU spokesperson Steve Clark.
According to UO, the Dean of Student's Office will be in charge of creating enforcement rules for students. At OSU, students who decline to wear masks may be moved to remote learning only.
"Our encouragement is that face coverings would be utilized as a preventative measure in all cases," said Clark. "We are an educational environment. We use education and community engagement to deal with those matters."
Students told KEZI 9 News that wearing a mask is a small price to pay in order to return to in-person learning.
"It's not a big thing to do to wear a mask, and you are able to actually have your normal life again and be there. So it's not a hassle to wear something like this," said UO graduate student Jamie Wright.
Both institutions plan to display signage about the mask requirement and will provide face coverings to those who don't have them.