Morgan State University expected to revise mask mandate
As city-wide COVID-19 protocol relax, Morgan State University shifts their campus-wide mask mandate to limited areas.
According to University President David Wilson, vaccinated Morgan students will soon only be required to wear masks in class, in the Student Health Center, in COVID-19 testing areas, and on public transportation.
However, the university will allow professors to take off their masks in classrooms as long as they socially distance themselves from students.
Wilson said the university will announce more lenient COVID-19 restrictions by the end of Wednesday or Thursday morning.
The university will still maintain full restrictions for students with vaccination exemptions.
“It’s difficult to police it [the full restrictions for exempt students] but we hope that people who have opted not to vaccinated- and that’s a very very small number- would take the precaution to protect themselves,” said Wilson.
Wilson said the university did not plan to revise protocols a week and a half ago, but the decision shifted after monitoring national and regional cases of COVID-19.
“I indicated to the university community that during the pandemic, every decision is being monitored on a daily basis,” said Wilson.
The decision to relax the COVID-19 protocol came after Baltimore City, Baltimore City Public Schools, Towson University and the University of Maryland revised their pandemic era protocols to some extent.
Wilson said many data points have contributed to this decision.
Of them, included a map presented by Anita Hawkins, associate dean of the School of Community Health and Policy, demonstrating the Northeastern region- all states north of Washington DC- is experiencing low rates of COVID-19 cases.
In addition to a regional decrease of cases, the city of Baltimore and the university community have seen low cases of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization.
Though the mask mandate will no longer be required for vaccinated students outside of the specified areas, Wilson said the university still strongly encourages all students to continue to wear a mask.
“It is important to understand that the mask wearer is protecting him or herself,” he said. “It is the individual who decides not to wear a mask that would be placing him or herself at risk of infection.”
Wilson said the university will continue to look at different modalities for instruction. However, he wants to be sure that the university makes the best decision for the long-term benefit of students.
“What students might think is in their best interest- the university community might have to rethink that because it’s not just about convince,” said Wilson.
“We have to look at it from the angle of preparation. Are you getting what you need from Morgan to enable you to compete after Morgan?”
The university’s Office of Student Affairs revisited on-campus housing restrictions after a push from the Student Government Association and students to relax visitation restrictions.
The Office of Residence Life and Housing announced that they will permit restricted visitation for residential students on Tuesday.
Residents will only permitted to bring in one guest, who must remain with the resident at all times. All guests must be current residential students.
“Because we were in that phase where we were not seeing any significant positive cases on campus, we were already leaning toward the direction that the SGA asked us to consider,” said Wilson.
“Our students have been incredibly compliant with protocols, our faculty, our staff, and we are basically now saying we are going to relax these a little bit and create these kind of opportunities for everyone to begin to reengage socially in a way that will restore the Morgan culture.”