The current masking requirement in classrooms will remain in effect until further notice, according to a Sept. 10 announcement from Dean of the College Jill Dolan.
This announcement maintains the previous mask requirement in classes with more than 12 students announced on Aug. 23. Masking decisions for vaccinated students in smaller classes remain up to the discretion of the instructor.
“We’ve seen no evidence of COVID-19 transmission in the classroom,” Dolan said in the announcement.
Dolan cited that 98 percent of undergraduates have been vaccinated. The positivity rate for last week’s COVID-19 testing cycle was .16 percent.
The notice acknowledged that the positivity rates among the campus community have “remained in the low to moderate range,” but “given the high case rate in the surrounding area, the predominance of the Delta variant In Mercer County, and other factors” the University will continue the masking requirement in classrooms.
Students had mixed feelings about the announcement. Daniel Kyong ’25 expressed that the masking is, “not ideal but it's necessary.” Similarly, Evan Dogariu ’24 said that, “we need to ensure the safety of all our fellow students and faculty even at the cost of comfort.”
Archika Dogra ’24 said that “I understand the decision given how early in the semester it is, but hopefully in the coming weeks the extremely low positivity rate can be used as an indicator to modify the mandate.”
The University had previously removed its masking requirement on July 4. Concerns surrounding the Delta variant led the University to reinstate its face coverings policy on Aug. 11, requiring students, faculty, staff, and visitors to wear masks indoors unless alone, eating, or drinking. Additional policies regarding face coverings in classrooms were announced on Aug. 23.
This story is breaking and will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.
Assistant News Editor Anika Buch contributed reporting to this piece.
Paige Cromley is a sophomore who writes for the News, Features, and Arts & Culture sections of the 'Prince'. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.