The UV strongly urges the use of masks in its facilites
- Office of the Principal
- April 29th, 2022
The Principal of the Universitat de València, Mavi Mestre, has informed the Governing Council that, during the change of context of this last week, and having listened to the university community over the last few days, the use of masks at the UV is strongly urged, leaving without effect the resolution of obligatory use in force until now.
The Principal informed the Governing Council of this decision, which met in ordinary session on Friday April the 29th. In this meeting, the students’ representatives supported the decision of the Executive Council of the University of Valencia to strongly urge the use of mask.
The UV’s decision on mask use
From the moment the Spanish government announced the forthcoming approval of a Royal Decree on the use of masks, the Universitat de València worked on the development of its on regulatory framework, under the provisions of the Spanish Royal Decree of April the 19th on the role of Prevention Services in the workplace, and based on the resolution of the Regional Department of Universal and Public Health of the Generalitat Valenciana (Valencian Government), which incorporated the role of these services in the articles of its resolution.
The members of the Health and Safety Committee and the technical teams of the Office of the General Secretary and the Office of the General Manager of the Universitat, as well as the Deans, Directors and Administration Staff of the centres were consulted in the decision making process.
CRUE-Sustainability, on April the 19th, recommended the continued use of face masks inside shared-use university facilities, the maintenance of ventilation protocols and the continued recommendation of hand hygiene.
In this context, during the academic holidays, and in the absence of a common position of the university system and indications form the educational authorities, in view of the imminent resumption of teaching activities, it was decided to adopt the resolution regarding the compulsory use of masks at the Universitat de València.
This resolution was based on a legal analysis of the Royal Decree, the Law on Occupational Risk Prevention, the LOU, the University Student Statute, and the resolution of the Regional Department of Universal and Public Health of April the 21st.
This analysis led to the conclusion that it is not contrary to the legal framework to make the use of facemasks mandatory for the entire university community.
Based on the available scientific evidence, and the analysis of the characteristics of the teaching spaces of our University, and the interpersonal dynamics of the university community, the Health and Safety and the Environment Service considered that the best way to guarantee a low risk of exposure to COVID-19 particularly for vulnerable people, is the continuous use of masks in university facilities.
Context after the decision on the mandatory use of masks
In the few days following the publication of this resolution, a number of significant developments have come to light:
Firstly, that most Spanish universities have interpreted the CRUE-Sustainability document as a non-mandatory recommendation for the use of masks.
Secondly, that the Autonomous Secretariat for Education and Vocational Training of the Generalitat Valenciana (Valencian Government) sent a press release on April the 23rd to the non-university educational centres indicating that masks are not compulsory in general, both for students and for teachers and non-teaching staff.
These actions by public administrations and universities demonstrate their assessment that it is possible to maintain what they consider to be an acceptable level of protection against COVID-19 in the educational environment without the mandatory use of masks.
University community consultation process
The Executive Council initiated an information and consultation process on April the 26th, immediately after the start of the new academic year, first with the Student Advisory Committee (CAES) and with deans and directors, and the standing committee of the Health and Safety Committee met on April the 28th.
In this consultation process, positions have been expressed in favour of making the use of masks compulsory, and positions have been expressed that the protection objectives pursued can be achieved with a recommendation, not necessarily compulsory, of this use.
Strongly recommend the use of face masks, maximum protection for people
In this context, the decision taken was reasoned and substantiated, taking into account the legal validity and scientific argumentation in the field of prevention.
At today's meeting of the Governing Council, the Principal of the Universitat de València informed that 'having listened to the university community, the Governing Council has considered that the objective of guaranteeing the maximum safety of people, not only the university community, but also their families, can be achieved by making it compulsory or through shared responsibility and responsible use by each and every one of us'.
The objective, she said, ‘has always been the maximum protection of people, as we have done since the beginning of the pandemic’.
‘That is why the Executive Council has decided to rescind the resolution of April the 22nd, strongly urging the university community to wear face masks in all university facilities until the end of the academic year’.
The Principal also informed that the staff of the Universitat de València will continue to be provided with face masks and the ventilation of the spaces and the air quality control systems will be maintained.
In her report to the Governing Council, the Principal of the University thanked all the work carried out over the last few days by the vice-Principal responsible for campus health, as well as the Health and Safety and the Environment Service.