Montclair State University’s Community Health Advisory Team (CHAT) sent an email to students, staff and faculty on Jan. 13 highly recommending the use of masks for the upcoming semester to keep the community safe.
Although wearing a mask is still optional, CHAT suggests wearing a mask until transmission rates of the coronavirus (COVID-19) subside, especially in highly populated areas such as classrooms, and meeting outdoors when possible.
Andrew Mees, university spokesperson, explains the university is monitoring the pandemic the same as when it first started.
“As we have done since the beginning of the pandemic, our group of on-campus experts and university administration monitors and assesses the situation,” Mees said. “Our Campus Health Advisory Team offered this recommendation because respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 or the flu typically increase during the winter months. So, in an abundance of caution, we wanted to remind the campus community to take precautions as we return for the spring semester.”
The COVID-19 dashboard is updated every Thursday. The week of Jan. 19 there were 14 confirmed cases on campus.
“The health and safety of our community members will always be our most important priority,” Mees said. “So, we will continue to monitor and assess the situation, and will make policy changes to ensure the safety of our community as needed.”
Some students think that the email was unnecessary. Madyson Garthly, a senior educational foundations for elementary teachers major, is one of them.
“I don’t really care if they send an email or not,” Garthly said. “Everybody is going to do what they want anyway.”
She said the university is doing a good job at keeping their students safe but doesn’t think an email will persuade them to wear a mask again.
“I personally am not going to wear my mask again but if somebody else wants to, that’s fine,” Garthly said. “I get that it’s the school’s job to keep the students and faculty safe, but the thing is if somebody wanted to wear a mask again, I don’t think an email is going to convince them to do so.”
Senem Hilal, a sophomore sports communication major, will also not be participating in voluntarily wearing a mask again.
“I haven’t really heard many people talking about wearing masks again,” Hilal said. “I don’t think I’ll wear one unless it’s mandatory again.”
However, Peter Guziejewski, a sophomore social media and public relations major, said he believes this is the best way to go about masking.
“By recommending [wearing masks] you encourage people to do it but also aren’t forcing it,” Guziejewski said. “Which, in my opinion, leads to less pushback about it.”
Guziejewski added that the university leaving the option in the hands of their students could keep the campus safe.
“I personally don’t wear a mask on campus anymore because I feel relatively safe,” Guziejewski said. “But in many situations, I do still wear a mask since my mom is in the immune-compromised category.”