Quinnipiac reintroduces mask mandate for fall semester

Individuals must wear masks inside all campus spaces, including during classes

Nicole McIsaac, News Editor

Quinnipiac University will require all individuals to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, Senior Medical Advisor Dr. David Hill and Chief Experience Officer Tom Ellett announced in an email on Monday. 

“As a university, we felt that we should fall in line with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidance because they have looked at this very carefully,” Hill said. 

Individuals are mandated to wear masks indoors, including the classroom, but are exempted from wearing them outdoors, in living areas, private spaces or when eating in dining halls. 

However, the mask requirement will not affect the intended structure of restrictions for the fall semester. 

The university will continue extracurricular activities and in-person teaching, as well as maintaining classrooms at a full capacity level. Social distancing precautions will not be put in place for the fall semester. 

Hill said that despite the challenges and restrictions presented last fall, the mask mandate does not mean the university will be returning to the same environment. 

“I don’t see us quarantining dorms, going to a lockdown and moving classes remotely because this high vaccination rate will protect us and the general community,” Hill said. “The masks add that extra layer, they give us a little extra protection from this delta variant.” 

Despite introducing a new restriction on campus, students anticipate a sense of normalcy in their college life. 

“I have already had professors tell me that they would be asking students to wear masks in their classes regardless of if the school was going to require it or not, so there isn’t much change for me in my day-to-day life or in my university life,” said Camryn Bernstein, a sophomore English major.

Many students see the decision as a positive reinforcement, emphasizing campus safety as the most prominent factor in returning to campus this fall. 

“I think they are doing the right thing by keeping everyone safe especially since we are seeing cases spike around the country,” said Robert Lyon, a senior media studies major. “I do think with these guidelines in place, I do feel as if these restrictions will be lifted at some point during the semester and school year.” 

On May 26, President Judy Olian announced in an email that all students, faculty and staff were required to provide proof of vaccination or an exemption from the vaccine by Aug. 1. Although the mask mandate was issued the next day, Hill ensured that the two had no direct correlation. 

“We set the deadlines for exceptions and vaccine submission entirely before this was done, those were sent months ago,” Hill said. “The first communication came out at the end of May.” 

With vaccine and mask mandates in place, some students are frustrated with the university’s decision. 

“It’s bull,” said David Maher, a sophomore film major. “They ask us to get vaccinated and then pull the plug on not having us wear masks on campus. It doesn’t make any sense.” 

Matthew Bruin, a public relations graduate student, began an online petition to make wearing a mask optional, while explaining the lack of normalcy the mandate will bring to the college campus. 

“As someone who received the vaccine in order to ‘return to normal’ and not have to wear a mask on campus, it feels as if Quinnipiac would rather manipulate their own students than follow their own promises/guarantees,” Bruin wrote in the petition. 

As of publication, the petition currently has over 400 signatures and continues to be shared across social media. 

“If they can do this now, imagine what they’ll do next,” Bruin wrote in the petition. 

The university will continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 and campus environment upon arrival in the fall.