Masks now optional on Salve’s campus

NEWPORT – Salve Regina University now joins the growing chorus of local colleges that have modified their on-campus COVID-19 mask mandates.

The private university announced late Wednesday that, effective Thursday, masks will be optional inside campus buildings. Salve, like many local colleges, implemented at the start of the academic year an indoor mask mandate for all on campus, regardless of vaccination status, to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Salve said the policy change is based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new “Community Levels” tool, which notes community spread and hospital admissions as “low,” “medium” or “high.” Newport County’s community level is currently “medium,” allowing Salve to make the policy change, the school said.

There are exceptions. Salve said faculty has the authority to require masking in their classrooms, laboratories and other related academic spaces – and will notify students if they go this route. Masks will also still be required in medical and clinical settings on campus, including the asymptomatic testing site.

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Salve also said it will continue to monitor the health climate within the campus community and beyond, and policies will be updated as necessary.

Along with Salve, the University of Rhode Island, Brown University, the Community College of Rhode Island, Providence College, Roger Williams University, Bryant University, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Wheaton College and Stonehill College have all recently made changes to their respective on-campus mask policies.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.