AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - Effective February 23rd, masks will no longer be required inside buildings on-campus. The announcement was made in an email sent out to students, faculty, and employees Friday afternoon.

The email states that face coverings must still be worn in healthcare settings as well as on Tiger Transit buses. Faculty members may also require individuals to continue wearing face coverings during their classes if there is a face coverings requirement in the course syllabus.

The mask mandate was originally lifted in the Winter but reinstated prior to the spring semester beginning due to the Omicron variant of the disease.

Governor Kay Ivey issued a statement Friday morning encouraging schools across the state to end any and all mask mandates. Ivey states "as a former teacher, I know well that parents should be in charge of making the best decisions for their kids, not government."

Auburn City Schools announced last week that masks would not be required in ACS buildings. Opelika City Schools lifted its mandate on masks on January 28.

According to data provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 41.9% of people over the age of 5 are fully vaccinated and in the past 7 days, only 333 cases were reported. Case numbers in Lee County are nearing pre-Omicron levels.

Graph of COVID-19 cases in Lee County Nov 5 2021 through Feb 18 2022. Provided by CDC.