Masks are no longer required outdoors on Emory’s campus, according to a May 20 email announcement from Associate Vice President and Executive Director for COVID-19 Response and Recovery Amir St. Clair. Masks are still required in indoor settings, “regardless of vaccination status.”  

St. Clair wrote that efforts by students, faculty and staff to promote a “safe campus environment,” as well as updated guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allowing fully vaccinated people to return to normal activities contributed to the University’s decision.

Unvaccinated community members are advised to continue to wear face coverings outdoors. Additionally, St. Clair wrote that some outdoor gatherings may still require masks, depending on size and density, but that details about requirements will be shared “when applicable.”

Relaxing the outdoor mask policy is a “positive and encouraging step forward,” St. Clair wrote. He urged community members to continue to practice healthy habits, such as washing hands, staying at home if sick and carrying a mask at all times in the situation “where risk of transmission increases.”

The relaxation of outdoor regulations allows students to gather unmasked when outside. (Forrest Martin)

The University will “continue monitoring changes in public health guidance and community indicators” and plans to provide further revisions to “campus policies and protocols,” according to the email.

St. Clair encouraged students who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated, providing resources for students to sign up for a vaccination slot. 

Students can schedule a vaccine appointment through Emory Healthcare using the Emory Forward website. Students who don’t have access to Emory Healthcare can view pharmacies participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program or use VaccineFinder.org to make an appointment at a clinic near them.   

St. Clair also emphasized the necessity of respecting individual choices around masking and distancing as restrictions are relaxed.

“Individuals may choose to wear masks or maintain distance for reasons besides vaccination status,” St. Clair wrote. “We are placing greater trust in the larger community and relying on our trust in others adhering to applicable guidelines.”