Masks and Physical Distancing: CDC, Ohio, and CWRU

To the Case Western Reserve Community:

In another sign of the progress that COVID-19 vaccines have made possible, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday announced that people who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks (including indoors) or maintain physical distance.

This new federal guidance did note, however, that it does not supersede any other existing laws or regulations, “including local business and workplace guidance.” In Ohio, for example, state orders regarding masks and social distancing do not expire until June 2. 

Within hours of the CDC announcement, several Ohio retailers announced they would continue mask mandates—or are still considering their next steps. Among the concerns are the large numbers of people not yet vaccinated, including those 12 to 15 who only became eligible for the Pfizer vaccine this week.

For now, all existing university protocols involving COVID-19—including mask-wearing and physical distancing—continue to be in effect. 

Since well before this pandemic began, we have emphasized that the health and safety of the campus community is the university’s highest priority. As has been the case with every decision involving our response to COVID-19, we are reviewing all available information and consulting with health experts regarding our options. 

Once that process is complete, we will fully update the campus community regarding those protocols.

Meanwhile, we encourage anyone not yet vaccinated to visit to learn more about on-campus options; alternatively, you can go to the state's vaccine provider webpage to get information for all providers offering vaccines in the Ohio.

We also ask all fully vaccinated individuals—faculty, staff, and students—to upload their vaccine cards to For more information about that process please visit our vaccine verification webpage.

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to protect the well-being of all members of our campus community. We look forward to providing more details soon.

Sara Lee, MD
Executive Director of University Health and Counseling Services

Carolyn Gregory
Vice President for Human Resources

Lou Stark
Vice President for Student Affairs