Updated 3/10/21 at 6:48 p.m.

Emory University announced that its “gathering policy limit” will increase from 10 to 25 individuals for events held both indoors and outdoors, a Wednesday email from Associate Vice President and executive Director for COVID-19 Response and Recovery Amir St. Clair read. A faculty or staff member is no longer required to be present for gatherings.

This announcement, paired with a slew of other loosened restrictions, comes as the University’s positive case numbers have decreased since a dramatic spike last month. The COVID-19 dashboard reported 25 positive cases last week, 17 students and eight staff members. 

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The Woodruff PE Center on Emory’s Atlanta campus. (Jason Oh)

Emory Athletics on the Atlanta campus can now begin competing in intercollegiate away games, a departure from the University’s initial decision to cancel all spring sports.  

The visitor policy will now allow for visitors to perform in a “small, organized social activity” outdoors on campus, such as “outdoor performances.” Specification on who is considered a visitor or what constitutes a performance was not included in the email. 

Starting March 15, students both on and off campus that meet COVID-19 compliance standards can access recreation facilities. Previously, only on campus students could use these spaces. Off campus students are still required to complete weekly testing, the onboarding process and complete a screening process within seven days of their visit to campus.

The eased restrictions will help the University achieve their goal of “having everyone safely back on campus this fall,” St. Clair wrote.

The Wheel has reached out to St. Clair and Executive Director of Emory Student Health Services Sharon Rabinowitz for comment on why the University decided to implement these changes. 

Before adjusting COVID-19 restrictions, the University uses “daily reports from Emory Healthcare, Student Health Services, local and state departments of public health, and the case investigation/contact tracing teams to inform the decision to change the alert level,” according to St. Clair in a March 10 email to the Wheel.