Respect masking choices

The Editorial Board urges students to be considerate of the choices people make in wearing masks after they become optional in campus spaces.

On March 11, Temple University announced students and employees will not be required to wear masks in most campus spaces beginning March 21. Temple will still require masks in classrooms, health care facilities and campus shuttles.

The Editorial Board asks students to respect each other’s decisions on whether or not to wear a mask in places where they aren’t required. While students must continue to wear masks when it is required, it’s important for people to determine what’s safe and comfortable for them when in places masks aren’t mandated. Students should also consider the boundaries others may have on removing masks and be mindful of people’s comfort levels if they continue wearing a mask.

Temple has 30 estimated active COVID-19 cases as of March 12, according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard. With fewer cases on campus, the university was able to ease mask guidelines, but will still monitor COVID-19 data and notify the Temple community of any further changes.

With a positivity rate of 1.1 percent, the city is in the All Clear COVID-19 response level where there’s no mask requirement in most public spaces, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Local universities have also recently adjusted their mask policies. The University of Pennsylvania will no longer require double-masking or KN95, KF94 or N95 masks in campus buildings, but wearing a mask is still mandatory. Drexel University will still require masks through March 19 and reassess community needs and risks. Thomas Jefferson University will also no longer require masks indoors beginning March 21. 

Students will soon see changes in masking on campus, and should remember that the decision to wear a mask can be personal, so no student should be made to feel uncomfortable about their choice.

As COVID-19 requirements change due to decreasing cases on campus and in Philadelphia, the Editorial Board encourages students to be respectful of their peers’ decisions with masking moving forward.

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