BLOOMSBURG- As the first week of classes approaches it’s close, students have had some adjusting to do. The biggest being that BU is back in-person, but with mask mandates that students as well as staff and faculty are unsure about.
Bloomsburg University’s mask mandate states that anyone on campus, including visitors, must wear a mask at all times when indoors. Masks are allowed to be taken off when outdoors. This is only the mandate of the school, not the whole town of Bloomsburg.
Students have been to classrooms where a bunch of fellow peers are not wearing their mask properly. As this keeps happening, it is apparent that professors as well as staff and faculty do not know how to approach this confusing transition.
Some professors do not speak about masks, while others will reprimand students and make them wear their mask properly. This is a debate that has been waiting to happen since before students arrived on campus: Should professors, faculty, and staff be able to correct students and make them wear a mask right or is this crossing a boundary?
Students are confused if professors are able to correct students not properly following the mask mandate.
Dr. Claire Lawrence of the English department, is a professor who corrects students about improper mask wearing. Dr. Lawrence said, “We are a community. When I’m doing that, I’m protecting the most vulnerable people [immunocompromised/unvaccinated] in the community.”
Lawrence said has been noticing that more students have not been following procedures set by Bloomsburg and the effect it is having on the students. She says, “I think the students are confused, I see students in the halls of my building, Bakeless, constantly without masks.” She believes most likely about 50% of the campus is unvaccinated for numerous reasons. Whatever they may be, she wants to protect these people from getting sick and masks are her way of doing so with the resources she has been given.
Dr. Lawrence went on to say, “I think it’s super hard for students and I mean I have nothing but compassion for the fact that your education has been tiny people in little, blue boxes.”
Student Noam Maymon, a mass communications major from Allentown, PA stated, “This [the mask mandate] is a complete grey area because a lot of faculty and staff don’t even know what the rules are,” he said, “The school needs a clear-cut answer for everybody.”
Some professors will not comment on students improperly wearing their masks, but other professors will. Seeing others not wear a mask just catapults others to believe they can get away with the same.
Students at Bloomsburg University are confused as to why their peers can improperly wear their masks in class, without any repercussions. Other students are willing to do whatever they can to ensure that BU stays in-person.
As Camryn Ritter, a junior Criminal Justice major from Selinsgrove, PA said, “Yeah, I mean if you want to stay in person that’s what you have to do.”