Walking around UConn’s Storrs campus this week, some students were wearing masks and others were not. Outside, masks are optional, but that is no longer the case inside the classroom.
Mandatory indoor masking that was removed in early March is now back in place. On day one on Monday, students were adjusting.
“It’s definitely throwing a wrench into the rest of the year, for sure,” said UConn senior Michael DaCosta.
Until the conclusion of final exams on May 7, masks will be required for all instructional settings, workspaces and events exceeding 100 people. This applies to students and university staff. It comes as UConn officials say they’ve seen approximately 150 new on and off campus cases during the last seven-day reporting period.
“A lot of my friends have tested for it and came back negative. Then a few days later, they came back positive,” said UConn junior Jessica Nadeau.
Instructional settings include classroom, labs, studios, rehearsal rooms and clinics. On the first day of the reimplemented policy, some students we spoke to said compliance was less than 100 percent.
“I went to my discussion this morning and half the people weren’t even wearing masks,” said UConn freshman Kailey Frieden estimating what she saw.
DaCosta said he witnessed something similar in his classes.
“Some were (wearing masks). Some weren’t. So, I don’t know how strictly they are going to enforce it,” he said.
In a statement to students, UConn said the goal of the mask mandate was to ensure the remaining weeks of the semester and the commencement ceremonies can be conducted in-person. One senior who spoke with NBC Connecticut supports this approach, especially after his brother’s college graduation in 2020 needed to be done virtually.
“I know he was actually disappointed that he didn’t get to have his graduation and get the full effects of feeling his accomplishment,” said Sam Frosti.
UConn said when it removed the mask mandate in March, the state’s covid-19 positivity rate was only about 2%. Data released Monday has the rate at 6.63%.