CINCINNATI – Xavier University will suspend its indoor mask mandate Dec. 1.

What You Need To Know

  • Xavier University will end its mask mandate Dec. 1, but masks will remain recommended indoors for anyone who is unvaccinated

  • 92% of Xavier students and 93% of the university’s full-time employees are vaccinated

  • The university said it will continue to monitor the situation as the winter progresses

The university's officials made the decision based on a number of recent data points, according to a release sent Thursday. There are three positive active cases of COVID on campus, per university data. There have been fewer than 10 total positive active cases of COVID-19 on any particular date.

The university said it has also experienced what it called "very low transmission rates, as well as low positivity rates" for COVID-19 tests conducted at their on-campus health clinic, the release states. It did not list specific numbers.

Xavier's COVID-19 dashboard shows that more than 92% of Xavier students are vaccinated as are 93% of its permanent employees.

Jeff Coleman, chair of Xavier’s COVID-19 Task Force, said those numbers reflect a campus-wide commitment to "look out for each other’s health and safety.”

He credited part of that success to vaccine clinics offered to students, including large-scale vaccination clinics held by Kroger Health at the Cintas Center, an on-campus arena.

“As a campus community, our students, faculty and staff have done an excellent job to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on our campus,” Coleman said.

University officials said all students, except for those with an approved medical or religious exemption, must be fully vaccinated by Jan. 3, 2022. 

Those students will still need to undergo regular testing. The university said they're advising students, faculty and all campus guests to continue to wear facial coverings indoors.

The news from Xavier University comes a day after Hamilton County officials advised residents to remain vigilant to guard against an uptick in community spread during the holiday season.

As of Wednesday, Hamilton County’s rate of infection is 165 cases for every 100,000 people. The county’s health commissioner, Greg Kesterman said 85% of those hospitalized in the region have not been vaccinated. Kesterman said families will have to make decisions again this holiday season, especially with regard to family members and friends who are immunocompromised or unvaccinated. He said wearing a mask indoors is never a bad idea.

Dr. Patricia Manning-Courtney, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, said the system can't endure the stresses it saw last winter.

"Last December and January were terrifying. They were really frightening times and we didn't see where it was going to end,” she said.

Coleman said Xavier will continue to track the situation and respond as necessary.

"While we are making this transition to lift the mask mandate, the Task Force will continue to monitor our campus and local environments,” he added. “If our community numbers change, the Task Force will respond as needed to keep our community safe.”  

The school’s Student Health Center, coordinated by TriHealth, continues to offer vaccines on a daily basis for all students and employees. They’re also offering COVID-19 boosters as well as the standard flu shot.

More information is available on Xavier's website.