Mascara Contra Carnero: Fordham University Unmasked


Mask mandates have been relaxed or lifted entirely at schools and institutions around the United States, and whether it’s the fever talking or a mask cutting off our oxygen, it’s a change that has left our heads spinning.

In accordance with the CDC’s updated guidelines for masking up indoors, a COVID-19 update was sent to the student population on Friday, March 4. In the email, the Office of the Vice President for Administration announced that the university would be lifting the mask requirement for most communal indoor spaces on campus, excluding the Ram Van and University Health Services locations. Some welcomed this announcement, while others remained hesitant.

Now, we wait for the projected consequences of spring break as students return to New York from all corners of the United States and abroad. Here at the editorial board, we find that our trepidation is especially amplified by the fact that the mandatory COVID-19 tests students need to submit following spring break can be taken as late as the end of the month. In the meantime, possible carriers of the virus are free to roam maskless.

At the same time, COVID-19 is here to stay, and certainly no one expects to be masked forever. If the student population is waiting for the magical point where the pandemic is completely over and we can live without worry, well, we’ll be waiting a long, long time.

We support the university’s decision to lift the mask mandate. However, we feel it would have been safer to wait until after spring break, particularly the post-spring break mandatory test, to ensure most of the student population is not infected before lifting the mandate.

We feel the real issue is the fact that Fordham has put the responsibility of deciding whether masks should be allowed in classrooms onto professors. We understand why this would be up to faculty — we certainly wouldn’t advocate for faculty that are still uncomfortable with potential unmasking to be forced to interact with a large group of reckless undergraduates.

On the other hand, having faculty be responsible for asking students to wear masks when they may not want to could cause a lot of resentment towards professors from their students — something that could be a problem considering the amount of individual interaction professors have with students.

It could also cause resentment towards the general concept of “the administration.” Of the 16 professors with whom we at the editorial board have classes, four have outright required masks in class, and one has requested that their students wear masks in class. Either way, the nose is out of the mask now. We can only hope the university doesn’t feel the need to mandate masks indoors once again, as it’s going to be incredibly difficult to wrangle students back into masks now that we’ve gotten used to seeing the lower half of each other’s faces.