St. Thomas University's George Martin Hall in Fredericton, N.B., is pictured in this archive photo from 2021. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

Officials at St. Thomas University announced Thursday the university’s masking requirements would remain in place for its winter semester.

Kim Fenwick, STU’s acting president and vice-chancellor, wrote in an email to students that university administration recently met with New Brunswick Public Health regarding on-campus health measures.

She said provincial officials are concerned about the presence of COVID-19 in addition to influenza and other respiratory illnesses like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which continue to make the rounds across the province.

“Public Health is strongly encouraging everyone to get a flu shot as limiting the spread of influenza is particularly important this year,” wrote Fenwick.

“Based on their advice, as well as the support and co-operation from our community for protecting each other, we will retain our masking requirement for indoor common spaces for the winter semester that begins Jan. 9.”

Masks are required in classrooms and common areas like hallways, stairwells, washrooms, administration offices and faculty offices. However, masks can be removed in classrooms if teaching or presenting can be done while physically distanced.

Officials say masking is not required when sitting in areas like Great Hall, George Martin Hall, Sir James Dunn Hall and the O’Brien Study Hall. Masking in residences is also not required but encouraged.

Students also do not need to wear masks if they are actively participating in athletics, fitness activities and theatrical or musical productions.