By Shoshanah Marcus, Editor in Chief
In an email to undergraduate students on February 24, 2022, the COVID Monitoring Team notified students that the university-wide mask mandate would be lifted “in most indoor locations on the Beren and Wilf Campuses.” This policy change will be in effect beginning on Monday, February 28, 2022. The “temporary” mask mandate has been in effect since August 2021.
This announcement comes as a response to the “dramatically declining both on local and national levels,” rising rates of vaccination, and “steady decrease of positive cases among our campus community.” In addition, the easing of the mask mandate is also in response to the “latest state health recommendations… which removed the indoor mask mandate statewide on February 10 based on state health expert recommendations.”
Notably, this change is not in effect for all locations on the Wilf and Beren campuses. While it is in effect “in most indoor locations on the Beren and Wilf Campuses,” students will still be required to wear a mask in classrooms and on the intercampus shuttle.
The email noted that the mandate would continue for the Cardozo and Ferkauf/Einstein campuses as well as for “those individuals who have a vaccine or booster exemption are still required to wear masks.”
Many students have shared their excitement and relief about this rule change. One student (SCW ‘23) excitedly stated, “My skin, my smile, and my asthma couldn’t be more thankful.”
Some students conveyed their frustrations about this easing of restrictions in only certain locations on campus. Rina Shamilov (SCW ‘24) shared with the YU Observer saying, “I think this idea is ineffective because it doesn’t actually provide change. Why draw arbitrary lines regarding mandatory mask-wearing? If the mandate isn’t lifted everywhere, then why lift the mandate at all?”
Others expressed their anxiety regarding this change. A student who wishes to remain anonymous (SCW ‘24) stated, “I’m excited about the mask lift because it means we’re progressing and COVID no longer poses as much of a threat, but I’m still a bit anxious about a potential outbreak.”
Despite mask-wearing not being mandatory in most locations on campus, the COVID Monitoring Team still encouraged those who want to continue wearing masks to do so. The email included, “We ask that the entire campus community respect and support all those who continue to wear masks going forward.”