• 55°

Minnesota universities mandate masks to curb COVID-19 spread

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Public colleges and universities in Minnesota will be requiring masks to be worn on campuses to help stop the spread of COVID-19 as the delta variant of the virus is surging.

The University of Minnesota said Monday that it will require all students, employees and visitors at its five campuses to wear masks indoors starting Tuesday, regardless of their vaccination status.

“Wearing a mask or facial covering indoors has been shown to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and, as we saw as a nation, virtually eliminate other airborne illnesses like the flu,” University President Joan Gabel said in a statement Monday. She urged the unvaccinated to get their shots.

The Minnesota State public college system says mask mandates should be implemented at any of its 37 campuses that are located in counties with high transmission rates. As of Thursday, that included eight community colleges and two universities, but the Star Tribune reports that number is increasing.

Target also updated its masking policy, saying that starting Tuesday, masks will be required for employees and strongly recommended for customers in areas where viral transmission is high.