Montclair State University lifted the mask mandate that has been in place since the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The administration sent out an announcement on April 29 stating that face coverings become optional in indoor and outdoor spaces beginning May 16.
The administration’s statement also included the reasons behind the new mandate, which were based on the community being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the number of cases remaining low in the university.
The new mask policy has brought mixed reactions among the Montclair State community.
Jazmene Mosley, a coordinator and success coach for the Dual Enrollment Program at the university, says honesty and following safety procedures will be the key to keeping everyone safe and preventing any COVID-19 cases on campus.
“As long as we all continue to practice good hygiene and safety guidance, I believe the campus will be fine,” Mosley said. “I think people should just continue to be honest when they’re sick and should communicate effectively with the people in their community, class or workplace, regarding how they’re feeling, even if it is the slightest cough or sneeze.”
Similarly, Emilio Villegas, a junior English major, felt the change is timely as long as students do their part.
“I feel like it’s fine as long as people are vaccinated and boosted,” Villegas said. “The people who have managed to slip by thus far should still be tested if they’re going to be on campus.”
Other students felt the pandemic has been around long enough for people to realize when a mask is appropriate. Maya Stolper, a sophomore communication and media studies major, was one of them.
“At this point, I feel like everyone has a good understanding of the rights and wrongs of how to handle situations with [COVID-19],” Stolper said. “It’s all up to you if you want to show up somewhere knowing you have symptoms. It’s the hope of myself and others around me people will do the right thing and if they need to wear a mask, they will.”
Lexie Campbell, a sophomore psychology major, reflected on Stolper’s words and added how college students should know how to act among potential sicknesses.
“Like my friend [Stolper] said, we are all adults here and we should all be able to know how [to] stay safe,” Campbell said. “I also believe people are responsible for taking care of themselves, but they could also keep an eye on others to be cautious. Nobody is here to babysit us, and I hope we are in a facility in which we can all stay safe.”