The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Anxieties over lifted mask mandates

We need to remain responsible

​​St. Joe’s announced on March 2 that masks will no longer be required in indoor spaces. Given our campus’ high vaccination rate and the city of Philadelphia dropping its mask mandate, it is understandable why this decision was made. 

We are cognizant of the exhaustion that covid-19 has caused. Removing masks gives many members of our community a sense of relief and hope. 

Despite our desire for normalcy, there are a few concerns over the timing of this decision.

From the beginning of the pandemic, we were informed that masks are the best way to keep us safe from covid. For almost two years, we have used masks to slow the spread of the virus and protect ourselves. Given the low number of cases on campus, with only three active cases as of March 7, it is clear masks have played a role in keeping ourselves and others safe.    

Although many people are grateful to finally enter a classroom without wearing a mask, there is still a risk of contracting covid. Cases in Philadelphia have decreased, but the pandemic has not ended. The understandable anxiety that comes with these new masking recommendations is even more so for those who are immunocompromised or have family who are immunocompromised. 

The university’s current guidance gives professors, labs, and those running other campus spaces the ability to continue requiring masking, which could result in professors and student organizations facing resistance if they decide to continue enforcing a masking requirement. 

We ask that the St. Joe’s community respect the decision of their professors, student organizations and designated offices on campus if they request that masks must be worn in the classroom or at an event. 

Because of the sudden announcement, students, faculty and staff had little time to adjust and decide what masking policies they wished to enforce. This decision came about two weeks before spring break, which leaves many people concerned with how the masking requirement might shift once everyone returns to campus. If you choose to travel over spring break, please get tested before returning to campus and monitor any possible covid symptoms.  

We hope that St. Joe’s community members will remain aware of the different comfort levels people have regarding masking. It is important that we respect each person’s request to wear a mask when necessary and to comply without resistance. 

The pandemic is not over yet, therefore we must continue to keep our campus and community safe by being responsible and respectful to those around us. 

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