We need a mask mandate in the classroom

In light of the emergence and spread of the Delta variant, which seems to be making children more sick than the OG COVID-19, and causing more breakthrough infections in vaccinated people, it seems irresponsible to be sending instructors in full capacity classrooms where students will not be required to wear masks unless they are unvaccinated. Many instructors have young children at home who are not vaccine eligible and would thus be put at risk by parents’ exposure. The CDC is recommending mask wearing for indoors in areas of high transmission, which Whitman county is (and that is before the full return of students). As an institution of higher education, it would seem that following scientific standards should be at the forefront of our approach in this crisis. A mask mandate would not only protect our instructors and their families, it would also protect our students and our community.


36 comments on "We need a mask mandate in the classroom"
  1. A mask mandate is the best way to keep both the campus and Palouse communities safe. Please help us protect our k-12 kids’ school year and the health of those unable to be vaccinated (young children, especially).

  2. PLEASE require ALL students in my classroom to wear a mask. I live with someone who cannot be vaccinated. I would like to be able to teach face-to-face without knowingly putting my child’s health at risk. In Pullman, all children and school staff will wear masks in public schools. WSU students ought to be required to do the same.

  3. As an assistant professor of teaching with a compromised immune system, I believe an in-class mask mandate is necessary to safe-guard the health of educators and their families. Moreover, a mandate will remove the opportunity for classroom division about who is or is not wearing a mask and why. The mandate will place all educators and students in the same position of not needing to make assumptions about the vaccination status of their peers or educators.

    1. I agree. By having a mask mandate, it would create less division in the classroom so that teachers can focus on education rather than “policing” who is or is not supposed to wear a mask. This also allows students to focus on learning. A mask mandate reduces the stress and anxiety on all.

  4. The vaccine mandate, yes absolutely! The mask mandate, no! We might as well return to distance instruction via zoom, like last year.

  5. We need a mask mandate in the classroom with no exceptions unless there are health risks for wearing a mask (?). Relying on the honor system would make sense had vaccines and vaccinated people were completely safe, but they are not. People who are anti-masking are usually anti-vaccine as well and thus the honor system to me makes no sense. All should be mandated to wear a mask in indoor spaces and follow the CDC guidelines. I would not feel safe in a classroom with people not wearing a mask and socially distancing.

  6. Keep our graduate student teaching assistants (and their families) safe! Please extend mask mandates to ALL WSU campuses. #CougsCancelCOVID

  7. Masks should be required at all times and all locations. The way things are going, we should really be entirely remote for fall. Vaccinated people can still transmit the virus. Employees have kids at home who are not yet vaccinated. This is a public health crisis, and you’d think an institute of higher education would be leaders in preventing predictable negative outcomes. We have *actual research scientists* at this university–use their knowledge to improve the lives of the WSU community!

  8. I support a mask mandate and a vaccine mandate–the supreme court allowed the vaccine mandate at the University of Indiana to stand, so should be on firm legal ground.

  9. With roughly 50% of Covid-19 incidence in Clark County occurring in the age groups 10-40 (https://clark.wa.gov/public-health/covid-19-data), and this being a commuter campus, where students go home to family and housemates of all ages, including children and people with compromised immune systems who remain unprotected by vaccines, it is unconscionable NOT to require masks on campus.

  10. With two little ones at home there’s no doubt that the mask mandate along with some social distancing policies are needed given latest evidence on the Delta variant.

  11. I am in FULL support of a mask mandate as I have a toddler and an infant at home who deserve the fullest protections that WSU can provide.

  12. I fully support mask mandates as well as social distancing policies given I have two small children at home who need to be protected especially in light of the new Delta variant.

  13. It is with reluctance from a pedagogical standpoint, but also an enthusiasm that borders on urgency, that I vote for an indoor mask mandate for the WSU system. I have a young child at home who is not vaccine-eligible, but as a contingent faculty member, it’s not an option for me to sit out the semester and hope either that the current policy changes, or that the pandemic wanes. We need to have students back in-person, but we also need the classroom environment to be safe for everyone. Many of my Vancouver students also are parents of young children, and I imagine it would be of great discomfort for them if their peers were unmasked at this time. Some might even withdraw for the term, further depleting the WSU system’s financial resources at a time when we need to get students to return after the last year of online learning.

  14. We’re a university. We support science. The CDC says that we should mask indoors in places of high transmission like Spokane and Pullman, so a mask mandate is the logical choice to protect us, our students, and those who can’t be vaccinated.

  15. Masks make sense. The evidence is clear that they do work. I’d strongly recommend an indoor mask mandate on campus that could be reconsidered on a monthly basis. With the excellent move towards an earlier date by which students must be vaccinated (September 10) , a masking mandate could get the university past the initial wave of infections as we wait for those vaccines to kick in. By October 1 we could be in strong position against this virus!

  16. As a person with an autoimmune disorder, I’m really concerned about this issue and the obvious need for a mandate.

  17. WSU needs to heed public health recommendations and issue a mask mandate to help save lives. Gov. Kate Brown issued an indoor mask mandate for Oregon last week, and it is likely that Gov. Inslee will do the same. In Oregon 18 percent of those who died of Covid-19 last month were fully vaccinated. The highly contagious Delta variant is filling hospitals.

  18. A mask mandate will give more students confidence about coming back into the classroom and so will help our enrollments. But that’s the secondary reason I support this. The primary one is saving lives.

  19. I support the mask mandate for all students and visitors inside classrooms and buildings regardless of vaccination status.

  20. WSU faculty have stepped up and made sacrifices and performed extra work every time administration has asked us for more. Now that faculty are making the reasonable request that we be allowed to work in classrooms that are as safe as possible, there can be no valid reason for administration to deny us this small modicum of safety.

    The governor is no longer requiring fully vaccinated IHEs to have a mask mandate, but there in nothing in the 20-12.4 proclamation that restricts WSU administration from allowing faculty to work in a safer classroom environment.

    Thus, forbidding us from teaching in the safest possible manner can only be seen as a betrayal of the sacrifices and extra work faculty have already made in order to get our community through this crisis. Allowing us to work more safely is, quite literally, the least the administration can do in response to the sacrifices and efforts already made by the faculty.

  21. I completely support a mask mandate. So many excellent arguments have been presented above. As a parent of children too young to get vaccinated, I remain concerned. I also think it will help give our students confidence in the classroom.

  22. Please require masks in classrooms. I support all of the reasons that others have noted. In my case, I live with two young children who cannot be vaccinated, and I want to be able to teach in-person without worrying about getting them sick. I also don’t want students getting sick from the cold, the flu, etc. to the extent possible.

  23. There should be a system-wide mask mandate. I think it’s pretty well-proven at this point that the honor system doesn’t work. People who are unvaccinated (by choice, not medical necessity) tend to be anti-mask as well. Current policy states that instructors can’t even ask students to wear a mask if they come into their offices for office hours. Making masks a requirement indoors across all campuses will solve this problem. With that said, masks with clear windows should be made available for instructors who have students in their classes who rely on lip-reading to aid in communication.

  24. Wearing a mask is a simple thing to do for the safety of all. Even those of us who are fully vaccinated can still spread the virus. Let’s do what’s both sensible and simple to stop its spread.

  25. Everyone in the classroom or on the campus should wear Mask.
    a study showing:
    Person 1, healthy
    Person 2, infected with Covid,

    Situation 1: if both persons wearing 😷 😷, person 1 may have 5% chance to be infected.

    Situation 2: if person2 wearing 😷, person 1- the healthy person’s face is naked, person 1 may have 40%-50% chance to be infected.

    Situation 3: if the person 2 not wearing mask, the healthy person 1 wears mask, the person 1 has about 20% chance to get Covid.

    Situation 4: if both persons do not wear mask, the healthy person 1 will have 90%-95% chance to be infected.

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