CUNY Student Pubs Cover Mask Mandate Lift

by Seon Pollard

DATELINE: CUNY–Within days of the announcement that CUNY would no longer require people to wear masks in classrooms, office buildings and other non-enclosed spaces, student journalists all across the university got to work reporting on the news. Here’s a round-up of what the students published this past week:

Photo by Julia Vasile-Cozzo, Hunter Athenian

Stories in The Envoy at Hunter College and The Ticker at Baruch College laid out the details of the chancellor’s decision while reminding readers that booster mandates and other CUNY guidelines are still in place. After also breaking the news for its community, The John Jay Sentinel highlighted the opinions of those who took to social media hours after the announcement.

“I guess I’m not surprised that CUNY dumped the mask mandate, but I suppose there’s something to say about them doing it at 8 p.m. on a Friday,” said one associate professor about the chancellor’s announcement, which came at 8:46 p.m. that day, reported the Sentinel’s Managing Editor James Van Bramer.

Other publications pushed the story forward by focusing more on the reactions from students, faculty, and staff. Some individuals are concerned.

“Omicron was at its peak in mid-January and that’s only about two months ago,” said one student to Mary Zakharova of the Brooklyn College Vanguard in one of two stories the paper published.  “There should still be a mask mandate for packed areas like stores, subways, and places where people gather because right now we really don’t know if a worse strain could develop.”

In the same article, Saaif Alam, who serves as University Student Senate’s vice-chair of disability affairs, suggested the chancellor “communicate more with the student body first before making those kinds of decisions.” 

Nevertheless, some people were more hopeful than others. In a piece for the Hunter Athenian, CUNY student Stephanye Claros is ready for masks to be a thing of the past and is looking forward to seeing everyone’s faces.

“The thing I’ve missed the most through this whole pandemic is seeing people smile,” she said.