Mask mandates return to college campuses as cases rise

Education

(NewsNation) — Colleges and universities across the country, particularly in the Northeast, are reinstating mask mandates and switching to online classes in response to an uptick in COVID-19 infections.

Colleges in Washington, D.C., New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Texas have reimposed a range of virus measures, with Howard University moving to remote learning to combat the spread of the virus.

It’s the third straight academic year that has been upended by COVID-19. Incoming seniors have yet to experience a normal college year.

The latest mandates come in the final weeks of the academic year, and students are feeling the brunt of it.

“We’re to the point where we’re tired of masks and we might as well just move on with it,” said Neeraj Sudhakar, Columbia University graduate student. “We probably have a 99% vaccination rate, so at this point I think we just need to move on with the pandemic and treat it as endemic rather than going back to what we were doing the past two years.”

The university brought back its mask mandate after several cases on campus, but it only applies to the classroom.

In Washington, D.C., students at Howard University are now learning remote as cases increase. The city’s COVID-19 infection rate has more than doubled in April. Besides American, Georgetown and George Washington University also reinstated their indoor mask mandates.

Philadelphia recently brought back its mask mandate, leading the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University to again require them starting Monday. Although the city ended the mandate Thursday, the colleges haven’t made any changes.

Meanwhile, in Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University announced it was testing all undergraduate students twice weekly through Friday, noting a steep rise in cases. The school also said masks would be required not just in classrooms, but in places like residence hall common areas.

COVID-19 regulations remain a revolving door, but these universities are still taking elevation precautions to ensure traditions like graduation stay intact.

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