Things could soon look very different on Temple’s campus. On Sunday, the University released a statement from Mark Denys, the Director of Student Health Services, stating the school-wide masking mandate would stay for at least another week.
The message went on to say that the school would re-evaluate the mandate after students return to campus. This all comes after the City of Philadelphia chose to remove their masking mandate on March 2nd.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Denys said that there are a number of factors that impact when the mandate could be lifted. These include the amount of active cases, the positivity rate, and recommendations from the city.
Denys also spoke how the decision wouldn’t just impact young and healthy students. “I think that we need to let science and the numbers guide us. We want to make a decision that respects the safety of those who are more vulnerable, whether they’re students with medical conditions, faculty with medical conditions, or faculty who are older.”
He does remain optimistic that whenever the mask mandate is lifted, students will have no issue with staying covid-conscience. “Our students have really risen to the occasion during this entire pandemic. I mean, our masking compliance has been fantastic. You know, in terms of people respecting others.
According to Bradley Smutek, the president of Temple Student Government, students are excited about the prospect of change. “They’re exhausted by COVID guidelines. our productivity is diminished by not having these face-to-face interactions…I think a lot of stakeholders at the university are excited to see us get back to some sense of normalcy.”
The potential for change has some others worried, however. Debi Leieur, a faculty member with Temple’s Association of University Professionals (, says she and her colleagues are scared about what ending the mask mandate could mean for their health. “A classroom is not optional. Students need to be in class, professors absolutely have no choice. It’s our job, we have to be there.“
She hopes that the school will wait until the end of the semester to make any changes, especially since some faculty members have children that are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination.
“And of course faculty members very often live with people that are vulnerable, including with young children who have not been able to be vaccinated.”
If the school were to change the masking mandate, Smutek expects to see masks being required in classrooms, but optional elsewhere on campus. A decision has yet to be announced but updates will be posted to Temple Update’s social media when they are released.
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