*Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Feb. 28, and was updated on March 1 to include a comment from Tom McGuire.
In an email sent today, Bloomsburg University announced that starting tomorrow, March 1, it will no longer require masks to be worn in indoor spaces. The update comes after both the CDC and Pa. Dept. of Health updated their masking guidance.
“It’s about f—king time,” said Vinny DeSpirito, a sophomore mathematics major. Like many within the student population, DeSpirito has grown tired of the mask mandates.
Dr. Ganahl, professor of media and journalism and founding faculty advisor of BUnow, expressed disappointment in the university’s shift in its masking policy. He said he was unaware of any outreach the administration made to its faculty, students and parents before changing its decision. He plans to send emails on Monday night to his classes informing them he will continue to wear his mask and invite them to continue wearing their masks.
“It’s no surprise that BU would be chomping at the bit to drop its mask mandate the minute administration can hide behind the CDC,” said Dr. Wendy Lee, a philosophy professor at the university. “BU administration has consistently pursued the absolute minimum to protect students, faculty, and staff- making clear that the university prioritizes revenue above the health and safety of its campus members … BU wins the prize for callous lack of concern for its campus and local community.”
DeSpirito, though, said he is “tired of this school and country not using common sense. Masks were not effective at all and you breathed in so many bad molecules from your mask getting dirty and respirated air.”
Masks, while not required, are still highly recommended throughout the campus’ interior spaces. Certain areas, such as the BU Student Health Center, BU Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic and public transportation will still require masks, as well as campus COVID-19 testing locations for students experiencing symptoms.
“I’m not sure how a classroom with no outside ventilation that is utilized at full capacity differs from a moving bus with windows,” said Dr. Ganahl, “but apparently it does.”
The university also reminds all that testing is an important mitigation action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and that testing is still available on campus at no cost for students.
“As a University community, we are appreciative of the faculty, staff, and students for following the campus protocols, which have helped keep the number of COVID cases low. We urge everyone, though, to remain vigilant and to mask up in the campus spaces that still require them” said Tom McGuire, director of communications and media relations at BU. “We should also support and respect those who make a choice to continue to wear masks.”