With students now back on campus and most colleges operating normally without requiring masks at any time in the classroom, Ohio University continues to be the odd man out. This page contains resources explaining why Ohio University’s mask requirement is anti-science, illegal, and harmful.
Masks are breeding grounds for Bacteria and Fungi: Bacterial colonies were found on 99% of masks and Fungal Colonies were found on 95% of masks in a recent peer reviewed study. Source
Masks do not stop the spread of COVID-19: Ohio University’s 3 largest COVID waves all happened while masks were required. If masks did stop or reduce the spread these spikes would simply not of happened or been the largest. Source
All Masks are Emergency Use Authorized and Require the Right to Refuse: No mask is FDA approved to prevent COVID-19, not surgical masks, not N95’s, and not cloth masks. They are Emergency Use Authorized (EUA). Any Emergency Use Authorized product requires the right to refuse it under Title 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(e)(1)(A)(ii)(I-III) which clearly states all EUA products require “the option to accept or refuse administration of the product”. Source 1, Source 2
Ohio University does not have a dress code and can not enforce the mask “requirement”: The OU Student Code of Conduct makes no mention of a dress code or masks. The OU Mask policy page lists no repercussions for not complying with the mask requirement and does not state that not complying with the unlawful requirement would breach the student code of conduct. This means you can not be punished for refusing to wear a mask as is your right under federal law. Any school employee making threats otherwise is not only lying but attempting to pressure you into compliance.
Most Public Colleges in Ohio do not require masks, instead they are optional as they should be: Ohio State University which OU use to say they match health policy with does not require masks, Source. Kent state does not require masks, Source. The University of Cincinnati does not require masks, Source. All 3 of these colleges are much larger than Ohio University and have many more students and employees on campus daily, yet they do not require them to be masked, because they are aware of the facts about masks.
Ohio University IS NOT following CDC Guidance: OU Continues to claim it’s “requirement” is based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Community Levels which are *recommendations*. The CDC’s ONLY mask recommendation for Community level prevention is that communities like Ohio University at all levels should “Promote equitable access (not require) to vaccination, testing, masks and respirators, treatment and prevention medications, community outreach, and support services.” The CDC recommends only to individuals that they should choose to wear a mask at a high community level. If OU was following CDC guidance they would not be requiring masks at an any level and providing access to masks at all levels for those who choose to mask, like most every other Ohio College is doing.
Ohio University Has Constantly Been Wrong About Masks
Our group filed our lawsuit in December 2021 and remains open in Ohio’s 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Since before we filed our lawsuit OU had proven their incompetence and inability to provide proper care for students, instead blaming their mistakes on “changing science” despite the science being clear for years that mask mandates do not work or prevent the community spread of COVID-19. You can read our previous press releases relating to mask mandates at Ohio University below:
Ohio University has been wrong time and time again. You should trust the science and make decisions based on your own informed risk just like the CDC recommends. Not trust state government employees who are not even medical doctors. We have always been clear: if you want to wear a mask go ahead, if you don’t want to wear a mask go ahead and don’t. People wearing or not wearing masks are not the problem. The problem is the people who are attempting to force others into wearing a mask, like Ohio University who will email you a video telling you to worry about COVID while violating their own mask requirement.
The truth is if mask mandates did work, they would not be required one week and not the other. It is clear Ohio University’s requirements are simply based off the irrational thinking resulting from fear of a small amount of employees. If mask mandates worked they would be required everywhere, not just the places OU can have posters and people there to pressure you into compliance. If mask mandates did work all students would happily choose to wear them without them being a requirement.
Ohio University’s requirements and recommendations are not only wrong they are clearly dangerous and the opposite of the CDC’s recommendations. The CDC recommends reusable face masks to be “washed after each use“
The CDC says all disposable masks “should be thrown away after they are worn once“. You should not be taking off or pulling down disposable masks and then reusing them. The same way you wouldn’t put back on disposable gloves, you should not be reusing these masks.
Ohio University recommends reusing all masks even non-reusable masks and says “don’t wash your masks“. They even recommend leaving the mask that is likely full of bacteria and fungi in a dark paper bag to “air out” for three days. One has to wonder if Ohio University’s Public Health Operations has even read the CDC guidance or recommendations or if they get their recommendations from twitter.
Let’s look at the science and studies since Ohio University refuses:
The previously mentioned study on bacteria and fungi in masks published last month in Nature found “bacterial colonies in 99% of the samples on the face-side and 94% on the outer-side“. Bacteria cause many common infections such as pneumonia, wound infections, bloodstream infections (sepsis) and sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea, and have also been responsible for several major disease epidemics.
The study also “observed fungal colonies in 79% of the samples on the face-side and 95% on the outer-side” According to the CDC Fungi can cause many different types of illnesses, including: Asthma or allergies, Rashes or infections on the skin and nails, Lung infections (pneumonia), with symptoms similar to the flu or tuberculosis, Bloodstream infections, and even Meningitis which according to CNN has had “one of the worst outbreaks of meningococcal disease in US history” just this year.
A University of Louisville study released in May 2022 found that mask mandates and greater compliance resulting from them “did not predict lower growth rates when community spread was low (minima) or high (maxima).” The study, which used CDC data across several seasons, found that mask usage and mandates “are not associated with lower SARS-CoV-2 spread among US states.”
Another study found: “contrary to the accepted thought that fewer people are dying because infection rates are reduced by masks, this was not the case … Results from this study strongly suggest that mask mandates actually caused about 1.5 times the number of deaths or ~50% more deaths compared to no mask mandates.”
The study theorized that the so-called “Foegen effect,” whereby hyper condensed droplets caught by masks are re-inhaled and introduced deeper into the respiratory tract, could be responsible for the increased COVID mortality rate.
Another peer reviewed study, released in April 2022, compared mask usage across Europe during the pandemic and found no negative correlations between mask usage and Covid-19 cases and deaths. It also admitted to have found a “moderate positive correlation between mask usage and deaths in Western Europe”
Another study found: “The pulmonary function parameters were significantly lower with mask. Peak blood lactate response was reduced with mask. Cardiac output was similar with and without mask. Participants reported consistent and marked discomfort wearing the masks, especially [respirator masks].”
Even Ohio University President Sherman is aware of these problems with masking and has experienced them personally:
Hundreds of studies of comparative effectiveness research as well as related evidence and high-level reporting show similar results of mask ineffectiveness and harms. To date, the evidence has been stable and clear that masks do not work to control the virus and they can be harmful.
A recent Time Magazine article titled “College COVID-19 Restrictions No Longer Make Sense” Summed it up well when they said “Restrictions appear to correlate with political leanings of the surrounding area”, Not with science or data.
It is truly sad that some people have made masks such a part of their political identity that they still feel the need to impose anti-science mask mandates even while almost no other college does.
What you can do:
Know Your Rights: All masks and respirators are Emergency Use Authorized and are NOT FDA approved. Under Federal law you are required to be “informed of the option to accept or refuse administration of the product”. OU is not only failing to inform students and staff about this, they are even failing to provide the option to accept or refuse administration of the Emergency Use Authorized Masks. Click the buttons below to read the federal law and Emergency Use Authorization of masks.
You can read more about our efforts to stop Ohio University’s anti-science and failed COVID mandates here.