LEWISTON — For students and staff at Bates College, masks will no longer be required in many situations beginning Tuesday.

“Given our low positivity rates and the low number of cases on campus coupled with a steady downward trajectory nationally and locally” of COVID-19 cases, the college opted to make masking optional for most people, two top administrators said in a note to students, faculty and staff on Monday.

Joshua McIntosh, vice president for campus life, and Geoffrey Swift, vice president for finance and administration, said the use of surgical, KN95 or N95 masks is optional except in a handful of specific situations.

Masks will still be mandatory in classrooms, studios, private offices and laboratories unless the faculty involved waives the requirement.

For indoor events, meetings and other gatherings, masks will also be required unless the host decides they’re not needed. If guests or visitors are present, though, the mask mandates must remain in place, McIntosh and Swift said.

Masks will still be needed for performances and athletic events when spectators are present. They will also be required for the Bates Art Museum, Bates College Store and Lindholm House as well as the college’s health care facilities.

Anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated and boosted will still be required to wear a mask. To attend events on campus, visitors must be fully vaccinated and boosted.

Students will continue to be tested twice a week but that may be revised later in the semester, the two administrators said.

As of Monday, the college had three students and two employees with active cases of COVID-19, a big drop from early this semester. Positivity rates are also down significantly.

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