Texas Tech University announced Wendesday it's lifting the on-campus mask mandate it's had in place for almost a year.
The policy change comes from a directive from Texas Tech University Systems Chancellor Dr. Tedd Mitchell, and executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott and recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to an email sent by University President Lawrence Schovanec to the campus community.
About two-thirds of classes at Texas Tech the past year have had an in-person instruction component. The university saw concerning spread of the virus during the fall semester, but cases dropped throughout the spring.
Texas Tech instated the mask policy last June, when mask mandates were becoming common nationwide. Research shows that the correct use of a facial covering could reduce the spread of the highly-contagious coronavirus. Soon after, masks were required across Texas. That order was rescinded in March when masking became optional in the state. A new directive from Gov. Greg Abbott this week prohibits government entities, including public schools from requiring masks after June 4.
To mixed reactions, the CDC recently advised that vaccinated individuals no longer have to wear masks in many situations. Those who have not been vaccinated are still advised to mask up. That's the guidance going forward on both the Texas Tech campus and nationwide.
Vaccination efforts started off strong in Lubbock, but the number of people seeking a shot has declined, a trend seen in many parts of the country. Around 42% of Lubbock County residents over age 12 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 36% are fully vaccinated, according to the latest data from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
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