Quinnipiac eliminates classroom mask mandate, booster shot requirement

Krystal Miller, Associate News Editor

Quinnipiac University has updated its COVID policies, making masking optional in classrooms and removing the requirement to obtain a booster shot.

The policies are in effect as of July 11 for summer II courses and will continue for the fall, university administrators announced in a July 8 email.

There will be no weekly COVID testing for non-vaccinated students with vaccine mandate exemptions, but all students can request testing through Student Health Services. Students who test positive must isolate off-campus unless they go through the exception application process. No isolation housing will be available to students that have not gone through the process. A pre-arrival test is not needed upon returning to campus, and only incoming transfer students will have to upload their vaccination cards. 

“I think we’re just in a different place than we were in January,” Senior Medical Advisor Dr. David Hill said. “In January, it was really very concerning what was going to happen and now we’re six months, seven months after that.”

Hill said the decision to no longer require the booster was based on the rate cases have been at, but may change in the future with more boosters being created. When the booster was initially required in January, some students and families were not in favor of the guidelines. 

Faculty will be able to request masks in the classroom, but cannot require it unless students are interacting with clinical patients. Hill said the goal of the new policy is to prevent conflict between faculty and students. 

Matthew Vogel, a sophomore communications and media studies major, said he is satisfied the university is lifting the mask mandate since many other institutions lifted them last year. 

“I do like how professors are given the option to require masks in their classrooms, and I think this ensures that people who are concerned are still able to stay safe,” Vogel said. “I’ve seen discussions on social media about new variants and rising case numbers, so I think the school just has to be mindful of that.”

Nicholas Talarico, a graduate biomedical science student, agreed that Quinnipiac was behind other colleges’ protocols. He said the spring semester’s masking protocol, which required students to wear masks in the classroom, but not hallways and in other parts of buildings, “did not make sense.”

Talarico said professors should wear masks if they feel more comfortable, but shouldn’t be able to request students to do so. 

“For professors to be able to ask students to wear a mask in classrooms is not right,” Talarico wrote in an email. “There is no way students should even have to entertain that idea if it is not required by the university.”

Since March 2021, Hill said approximately 3-4 students have used the on-campus isolation housing at a time, so there will be limited on-campus isolation spaces. 

Students in isolation will be able to get their own food from dining halls as long as they are masked. Students who cannot go home to isolate, for reasons such as the use of public transportation, will be able to send an exception application. 

Hill said he hopes the new protocols will allow the campus to return to pre-pandemic normalcy.

“I’m hoping there will be a really wonderful sense that Quinnipiac is back to where we were,” Hill said.