By Elizabeth Richardson
Social Media Editor
President Foster announced through an email to students on March 3 that the general mask mandate would be rescinded beginning on March 12.
This update went into place right before students left for spring break and has sparked a lively debate among members of the community.
Senior communications major Katelyn Dunkel is one of the students celebrating the school's decision and is eager to take her mask off for good.
“I think that the school made the right call, it should be up to the students' comfortability at this point, and I am personally comfortable with not wearing a mask,” said Dunkel.
Some students, however, believe the policy update to be premature and are worried about a possible spike in cases.
“I don’t think the timing was the best,” said junior vocal music education major Hannah Stratton. “Lifting it directly after spring break opens the door for people bringing back not even covid but other sicknesses to people in their classes.”
Stratton plans to continue wearing a mask until she can get tested and receive a negative Covid-19 test result.
“I feel like there will be a huge outbreak of illnesses when people get back if people do choose to take their masks off immediately,” she said.
According to Foster’s email, the decision stems from the CDC’s newest guideline changes, which reported that the Covid-19 Community Level for Mercer County is now low.
This reduction in case rates was visible on campus through the College’s Covid-19 Information Dashboard, with confirmed Covid-19 cases never going above 5 students or faculty members before spring break.
However, as of April 7, the College has confirmed 51 student cases and 7 employee cases of of Covid-19 in the past 14 days.
Similar to the College, Princeton University announced on March 2 that it will be lifting the indoor mask mandate starting on March 14. Rider University lifted its indoor mask mandate for everyone as well, regardless of vaccination status, on March 5.
“When they lifted the mask mandate in the dorms, there was a spike in positive Covid tests, so I think everyone’s going to come back from spring break after traveling without masks and the positive test rate is going to go way up,” said Peter Corso, a junior music and political science major.
President Foster considered this scenario in her announcement, stating that if infection rates were to increase when students return, the College would consider reinstating the mask mandate.
“What I think they should have done is kept the mandate for two weeks following break and then lifted it, because then everyone will have gotten tested and it will be warmer and more people will be more inclined to spend time outside,” said Corso.
Sophomore vocal music education major Hope Miller, shared a similar opinion.
“I feel like coming back from a holiday with masks off is a potentially really bad decision, I think the administration should have waited one or two weeks after to lift the mask mandate,” she said.
When students returned from Thanksgiving break in the fall 2021 semester, the College saw almost twenty cases every two weeks.
“I’m going to keep my mask on in the classroom, but as for going to the library to study or the Stud to eat I don’t think I’ll wear it,” said Leonor Fontanez, a freshman deaf and hard of hearing elementary education and mathematics major.
In her email, President Foster included that the College will remain “mask friendly,” and stated that anyone who wished to continue wearing a mask is encouraged to do so.