By Gabe Gross, News Editor
An email sent out on August 29, 2021 by Yeshiva University to the YU undergraduate community announced that a temporary mask mandate will be put into effect in academic and administrative buildings, excluding residence halls and dining facilities. The email clarified that “This policy is subject to modification.” The email also included that regardless of vaccination status everyone has to be wearing masks in the aforementioned locations.
Yeshiva University reminded students that if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, they should refrain from coming to class and consult their medical provider. If you test positive for COVID-19, you must inform the COVID response team at email@example.com for faculty and staff, and firstname.lastname@example.org for students. The email concluded by stating that they will monitor the campus environment and update the student body and faculty with information for after the holidays.
The mask mandate follows an email sent to students on August 27, 2021 by the COVID response team. They informed students that three students, one from the Beren campus and two from the Wilf campus, tested positive for COVID-19. According to the response team, no link between these cases have been found and all students that tested positive are in quarantine. In terms of the rules for various students, the earlier email clarified, “Fully vaccinated individuals (defined as two weeks past their final vaccine dose) who are not experiencing symptoms do not need to quarantine but should observe themselves for any symptoms. If you remain asymptomatic there is no need for any action. If you are fully vaccinated and you develop symptoms, please immediately quarantine, get tested, and advise the school that you are positive. If you are not fully vaccinated, even if you have no symptoms, you are still required to quarantine for 10 days. Please advise the school of your situation. You should get tested 3-4 days after your last exposure, and advise us if you are positive.”
Students at YU had an array of responses to the new mask policies. Shuie Berger (YC ‘23) said, “I can’t say I didn’t expect it, but I don’t think it will help at all. There is too much turnover in the school for it to be contained with masks, so I dont think masking will do much. I think they should just leave it alone, and if you feel sick, you quarantine and get tested and that is it. I don’t think masking helps more than it harms”. In contrast, Akiva Garner (YC ‘24) stated, “Having been out of the pandemic mindset for a while makes this all the more difficult but if medical professionals believe that it’s the best thing to do then it’s important to listen to them. Ve’chay behem (you should live by them)”. Erica Sultan (SCW ‘22) continued Garner’s line of thinking and said, “It’s absolutely ridiculous that there were no mask mandates prior to classes in person.”