For the first time in over two years, Temple University will be partially lifting its mask mandate. This comes after the city of Philadelphia dropped its indoor mask mandate for most establishments.
The university updated its mask guidance earlier this week, announcing that masks will be optional in dining halls, residential halls, the Liacouras Center, residential halls, common areas, meeting rooms, and non-clinical office spaces.
Masking will however still be required in classrooms, or anywhere in-person classes take place. Additionally, masks will continue to be required in studios, labs, inside shuttles, as well as in healthcare facilities.
These changes are planned to take place Monday, March 21st.
Senior Director of Health Services Mark Denys says this decision was made in part because attending classes is mandatory but going to other locations around campus isn’t. He says “Students, faculty, or staff, whoever it may be, who are at higher risk for severe disease – they still have to go to class, and they can’t control that situation.”.
Freshman Kylie Sokoloff says “We’ve had a lot of false hope before, only to get the cases back up.
Many students that spoke to Temple Update share Sokoloff’s concern and are anxious about the implications of dropping the mask mandate.
Sophomore Gibreel Mami worries these changes may lead to another surge in cases. “When you’re going to remove masks, of course, the cases are probably going to rise.” Mami says.
With almost 98% of Temple’s community vaccinated, some students are comfortable not wearing masks.
Freshman student Daphne Wang says that although she feels comfortable with the change, she thinks we should continue to be vigilant. She says, “I know there’s like so many different variants, I think we’ll just kind of have to see what happens and then just keep getting tested.”
While Temple is lifting its mask mandate for most campus spaces, the university is urging students to consider their own personal risks and decide for themselves whether they want to mask up or not in all or certain situations.