BREAKING NEWS: University Announces Mask Mandate Lifted On-Campus

[MARCH 2, 2022]: Beginning March 7, 2022, masks will no longer be required “anywhere at St. John’s University either for indoor or outdoor campus activities,” according to an internal email sent out by the University on March 2. This decision is based on updates to New York City and New York State guidelines which are also going into effect on March 7. 

The email was addressed from Simon G Møller, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Joseph E. Oliva Vice President for Administration, Secretary and General Counsel. 

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced the lift of the statewide mask mandate in schools on March 2. This prompted New York City Mayor Eric Adams to lift the mask mandate for New York City schools, as well as the requirement for vaccination status for indoor dining, entertainment and fitness centers to be lifted as well. These guidelines are in effect starting on March 7, the same day the University’s updated guidance begins.

These decisions from Hochul, Adams and the CDC — stating the mask mandate is no longer needed due to the vaccination statistics, as well as immunity levels rising — back the University’s changes to the campus mask mandate. “All of our COVID-19 planning and protocols are subject to the latest public health guidelines and may be modified as circumstances change,” the email stated.

The University encourages students, faculty and visitors to wear a mask if they feel it is necessary. Per the University’s email: “Anyone on campus or visiting campus is welcome to wear a mask anywhere, if they feel safer doing so, and those personal and individual decisions demand our mutual respect and support.” 

Campus Recreation stated otherwise via their monthly newsletter released on March 1, 2022, in which they reaffirmed the use of the mask mandate policy regardless of the state and local guideline changes. They cited the University’s previous mask mandate in their post. There has been no update following the University email as to whether the Fitness Center and Taffner Fieldhouse will require masks going forward. 

The University remains steadfast on its symptoms policy, noting that “if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19, you should not come to campus.” This includes completing the COVID-19 Notification Form, which notifies administrators, professors and contact tracers of a COVID-19 exposure or confirmed positive. 

The University believes students and faculty can safely engage in campus activities without masks with the requirement of vaccinated and boosted employees and students. 

From the Editor: This story is on-going and will be updated as needed.