The COVID Conundrum of Colleges: Elite Universities’ Tenure Masks Two Years into the Pandemic, But at What Cost?


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As America has put many COVID-19 restrictions in the rearview mirror, some colleges and universities are not yet ready to drop some mandates.

George Washington University, Georgetown University, New York University, Rutgers University and San Diego State University still have some form of indoor mask mandate in place to combat the spread of COVID-19.

At George Washington University in Washington, D.C., community members are required to wear a mask in “indoor teaching settings,” such as teaching labs and classrooms, school transportation George Washington University and Academic Health Institutions.

The university informed community members on September 9 that it is relaxing the mask mandate on September 12, as before masks were required in most indoor settings on campus.

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Prospective students visit the Georgetown University campus.
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Jackson Hoppe, a student at George Washington University, told Fox News Digital the country was “beyond” mask mandates, but said the new classroom mask mandate was “much more reasonable.”

“I just think it’s ridiculous and in September 2022 we’re still actively enforcing that kind of mandate,” Hoppe said. “I mean, I think they’re trying to be safe, you know, but honestly, I think it’s a bit over the top at this point.”

“I think they’re just going a bit too far,” he added.

A spokesperson for George Washington University pointed Fox News Digital to an email sent to community members on September 9, stating that beginning September 12, “masks will be optional but will remain strongly recommended in all facilities owned or operated by the university” with certain exceptions.

“While masks are optional on our campuses, their use is strongly encouraged. Individuals may choose to wear a mask for a variety of reasons. We ask that you respect the personal decisions of others who continue to choose to wear a mask,” l e-mail indicates.

Ezra Meyer, a George Washington University student and campus reform correspondent, said masking should be a personal choice.

“It should be the prerogative of each student to choose whether or not to wear a mask. Masking on campus should be a matter of personal choice, not imposed by mandates,” Meyer said.

Georgetown University, which is also in Washington, D.C., has a similar masking policy and requires members of the community to wear a mask during organized classes, university-sponsored transportation, and health care facilities. health.

Rutgers University, which has campuses across the state of New Jersey, has a masking policy that requires members of the community, such as students and faculty, to mask up in “all indoor teaching spaces , libraries and clinical environments,” with “mandatory compliance.”

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PhD from Rutgers University.  students wearing masks.

PhD from Rutgers University. students wearing masks.
(Rutgers University School of Communication and Information)

San Diego State University’s mask policy requires students and staff to mask up when in “teaching settings,” even if a class session is taking place outdoors. The university also requires masks to be worn in the library, student health services and children’s center.

Dr. Marc Siegel, a Fox News medical analyst and professor of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center, told Fox News Digital that while universities have the right to impose restrictions such as a mask mandate, it doesn’t. does not mean that they are justified.

Rutgers University students wearing masks in a classroom.

Rutgers University students wearing masks in a classroom.
(Rutgers University School of Communication and Information)

“It has not been scientifically proven how beneficial the mask is,” Siegel said. “Universities have a right, but I question the harm and public health value of actually doing them.”

Siegel also said current mandates, such as mask mandates, cause psychological harm.

San Diego State University engineering students wearing masks.

San Diego State University engineering students wearing masks.
(San Diego State University)

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“I don’t think mask mandates have been shown to work anywhere, and the word ‘mandate’ causes psychological harm. And then it leads to pointing out virtue where people wear a mask but don’t don’t wear it properly,” Siegel said. .

Other institutions such as Columbia University also have a mask mandate that is in effect until September 30 in all classrooms and college shuttles “to allow for a smooth return to class.”

New York University requires community members to wear a mask in settings where “in-person presence is required” as well as when people are “exposed to the same people over an extended period of time.” A spokesperson told Fox News Digital that his mask mandate should be lifted by the end of September.

Fox News Digital has contacted the universities mentioned.

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