Foster a community of respect amid CUNY mask mandate lift

The Editorial Board

Almost two years after CUNY closed its doors to more than half a million students and transitioned to remote learning, the university lifted its temporary mask mandate that required everyone entering its campuses, office buildings and classrooms to wear a mask.

The end of mask mandates has been met with mixed reactions from students across grades, boroughs and counties. At Baruch College, students have found themselves sitting in classrooms reminiscent of pre-pandemic life and walking through hallways with almost everyone masked up.

But regardless of everyone’s personal preference, all students and faculty should respect the decisions of their peers when it comes to wearing a mask.

The change was made following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new masking guidelines, which list recommendations according to COVID-19 community levels of risk.

CUNY’s decision echoed the choices made by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams to end statewide and citywide mask mandates for students from pre-K to the 12th grade.

“Anyone who would like to continue wearing masks in any setting is welcome to do so at any time,” CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said in a university update.

CUNY’s new official guidelines make it permissible for everyone to enter campus facilities without a mask, but it also means students are just as entitled to keep them on.

Whether students or faculty want to ensure they have extra protection against COVID-19 or are concerned about spreading the virus to at-risk loved ones, their preference should be respected by all.

Those who do choose to continue masking should never be hassled or forced to justify their decision to others.

With the lifting of the mandate, the choice to mask or not to mask should depend on the personal comfort of each student and faculty member. The continued supply of masks on all CUNY campuses is the perfect supplement to its new policy of optional masking, as anyone who wants or needs personal protective equipment can access it.