Bucknell Lifts Mask Mandate This Week

Aaron Chin, Contributing Writer

On March 10, 2021, President John C. Bravman sent out a university-wide email regarding the new masking guidelines around campus. In the email, Bravman wrote “Bucknell has been guided by the recommendations of the CDC, which recently relaxed indoor masking guidelines for people living in areas of low or medium risk for COVID-19. While Union County is currently considered high risk, it is our hope that this will change soon as cases of COVID-19 continue to decrease.” He then stated that the University would update its masking guidelines starting March 26, should Union County fall within the low to medium risk range for contracting COVID-19. As of this article, Union County now stands at a medium risk, therefore putting the president’s new masking guidelines into practice. 

I believe that this was a rational and well thought out policy put out by the president. While circumstances might vary from person to person, trusting the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines was the safest and most effective way to go about implementing new masking guidelines. According to the CDC, if a county falls in the medium level, which Union County does, then “People may choose to mask at any time. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.” Thus, President Bravman’s new guidelines fall directly into these guidelines, meaning that this new policy should be carried out safely and effectively. 

One other change that the new policy caused was the implementation of QR codes around campus that students can scan to check on current COVID-19 guidelines. This is both safe and effective in numerous ways. For example, it gives students who might not know how to access this information easy access to it. If someone is confused about the new guidelines, all they need to do is pull out their phone and scan a QR code to get the answers they need. 

One of the most important aspects of the new guidelines is that, even though masks are no longer required at indoor spaces, they still remain an option for those that choose to wear one. In his email, the president wrote, “I want to stress that no matter which guidelines are in place, everyone retains the personal choice to mask, in any situation on campus — or, in my opinion, anywhere. Many members of our community will want or need to continue to wear masks. We expect that they will be treated with the utmost respect. If you are more comfortable continuing to wear a mask in public spaces at Bucknell, by all means continue to do so.” It is important that we maintain respect and dignity across campus, even if someone makes different choices than you. While I will continue to wear my mask in most indoor spaces, I have no disrespect or hard feelings towards those who do not. One choice does not constitute a person’s entire being, beliefs or attitudes. We must remain empathetic towards one another in these uncertain times; you never know what anyone is going through, and creating friction between each other will get us nowhere.

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