Mask mandate back in effect at UCSB and other universities

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By RICHIE MALOUF

CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER

(The Center Square) — As the school year draws to a close, US universities across the country are reinstating mask mandates.

Among them is UCSB.

The university announced Thursday that it will require masks in classrooms and other indoor environments, starting today.

“In consultation with our campus medical experts, Academic Senate, student leaders, deans, staff and administration members, public health officials, and medical colleagues across the system, UC Santa Barbara has decided to require masking in classrooms and other indoor shared spaces on campus. May 27 to June 12, 2022,” UCSB announced on its website, ucsb.edu.

“In an effort to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the university will require indoor masking on campus during the remaining instructional weeks and during finals and commencement weekend,” UCSB said. .

“All indoor spaces on campus, including research spaces, are subject to the masking requirement, with the exception of individual residences in campus housing, dining halls during meals or individual offices with a person with the door closed,” UCSB said on its website. announcement.

Elsewhere, UCLA emailed its students on Thursday, saying its mask mandate “will be back in effect beginning Friday, May 27 and will remain in place until Wednesday, June 15.”

However, not all students agree with the policy change.

“We are already one of the strictest schools with COVID; not only do we need to be vaccinated and boosted, but we also need to be tested weekly and complete a symptom surveillance survey,” said Stella Foreman, a freshman at UCLA.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa website states: “As of Wednesday, May 25, face masks are again required indoors throughout the University of Hawaii system, except when working alone. or separated from others by 6 feet or more.”

Regardless of how students may feel, more universities across the country are following suit and enforcing mask mandates again.

“The University of Delaware is reinstating its masking requirement for all indoor spaces, effective 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 24,” according to an article in the university’s newspaper, UDaily.

George Washington University has extended its masking policy “for all university-owned or operated facilities, including classrooms, until further notice,” according to its website. The university acknowledged that “rates of positive cases of COVID-19 have declined significantly in the region and on our campuses.” However, the school said “rates still remain at a high level compared to other phases of the pandemic.

“Additionally, we anticipate an increase in positive cases due to increased travel and gatherings during the spring break period,” the school added.

Some universities will not reimpose mask mandates on their students, however.

American University, also located in Washington, DC, has decided to drop its mask mandate effective May 23.

Meanwhile, Americans are less worried about the pandemic than in the past.

According to a poll by the Pew Research Center, “only 19% of Americans view the coronavirus outbreak as a very big problem for the country, the lowest share out of 12 issues included in the survey.”

Turning its attention away from COVID-19, “the public sees inflation as the number one problem facing the United States – and no other concern comes close.”

News-Press editor Dave Mason contributed to this story.

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