No More Masks for Professors

PHOTO COURTESY/ Unsplash Christina @

PHOTO COURTESY/ Unsplash Christina @

Last Tuesday, on Oct. 12, St. John’s announced that fully vaccinated professors would no longer have to wear masks in the classroom so long as they maintain a safe distance from students. This is a step forward after a year of teachers and students alike wearing masks in the classroom. There’s still a long way to go before students can remove their masks as well. But is this an appropriate action for the University to take? Is it too soon to remove masks in the classroom?

This mandate is necessary because we are gradually adjusting back to the pre-pandemic world. Many of us have transitioned from online classes to in-person classes. Since it’s been a few weeks into on-campus instruction, it makes perfect sense that certain measures would be lifted. Students can forgo their masks on campus unless they are inside a campus building. Social distancing is recommended but not strictly enforced in classrooms. Professors had to wear masks in the classroom and stay far from students which generally wasn’t difficult because of how a lecture functions. 

I would prefer my professors to feel comfortable when teaching and as long as they are vaccinated, I don’t have any issues. I know my professors don’t enjoy wearing the mask and some have claimed it isn’t comfortable for them to lecture with it on. My healthcare ethics professor, in particular, would always be fumbling with his mask. He would mention how it is frustrating to lecture with the mask on and how it was difficult to hear us with our masks on. I know he was pleased with the new mandate, but he did care if any of his students felt uncomfortable with the policy. My biology professor also prefers not to wear his mask. He asked his students if they were comfortable with him taking off his mask while teaching. I think if any student objects or feels uncomfortable, then a professor should continue to wear it out of obligation to that student.

Overall, I think that allowing professors to remove their masks is not a drastic action to take. Furthermore, professors would maintain the same distance they did before the mandate. While I do believe that the new mask mandate is the proper action to take, I can see that there could be concerns that would arise as a result. Other students might feel uncomfortable or unsafe with professors not wearing masks. With the news of the delta variant, some people don’t feel safe yet while others are eager for a return to normal. I think that this mandate is moving us to a more hopeful future, a post-pandemic world. To a future where students can also take off their masks.