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Princeton revises guidelines for fall, eliminates masking and social distancing requirements

<h5>The entrance to Frist Campus Center.</h5>
<h6>Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
The entrance to Frist Campus Center.
Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian

The University will eliminate multiple public health guidelines related to COVID-19, including the requirement that students, faculty, and staff wear face coverings, beginning July 4. Most other restrictions will be lifted by the start of the fall semester.

Provost Deborah Prentice and Executive Vice President Treby Williams announced the changes in a July 1 letter to employees. 

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The prior policy by the University maintained the face covering requirement for indoors, with a note that it would be revisited in early July. Face coverings are no longer required for most situations, though they must continue to be worn on TigerTransit in compliance with state guidelines.

Additionally, social distancing will no longer be required indoors or outdoors as classes this fall “are expected to be taught in-person,” according to the letter.  Beginning Aug. 1, there will be no capacity limits on on-campus and off-campus gatherings hosted by University staff, students, or faculty, and no prior approval will be required. Any remote work will conclude by Aug. 29, and Opening Exercises are expected to occur in person in the University Chapel. 

All students and University employees must submit proof of vaccination to the University by Aug. 1. Employees must also update their information in VacStatus by July 1.

Students will continue to be tested for COVID-19 under the new guidelines, according to the University’s Instagram story. Vaccinated students will be tested once per week, while unvaccinated students will be tested twice per week. 

International students who are unvaccinated must quarantine upon arrival to campus. A grace period will be provided for such students unable to be vaccinated prior to arrival on campus.

Numerous other on-campus activities that had been altered or prohibited under COVID-19 restrictions will also return to normal under the new guidelines. Residential buildings and dining halls will function at full capacity, and eating clubs will be permitted to reopen. Classrooms, teaching and research labs, libraries, and administrative and research spaces will also operate without capacity limits.

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The Global Safety and Security Office and Office of International Programs (OIP) hope to approve limited study abroad opportunities for the fall 2021 semester, and updated guidance will be released in mid-July.


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In addition, in compliance with NCAA and Ivy League guidelines, both varsity and non-varsity sporting events are expected to occur at full capacity. Spectators will not be required to prove vaccination status.

Events and conferences held on campus will also be permitted to host off-campus visitors.

More information on the Fall 2021 public health guidelines can be found on the Office of Environmental Health and Safety website or at https://covid.princeton.edu.

Editor’s Note: This story previously indicated that the mask-wearing requirements would be eliminated as of July 3 based Prentice and Williams’ announcement to employees. However, the guidance is effective July 4 according to the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

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