College reintroduces indoor masking as rest of university system sticks with 'advisory'

Purchase College, a school in the State University of New York (SUNY) system, reinstated its indoor masking policy in response to the ‘tripledemic.’

Nassau Community College, another SUNY school, announced, then quickly retracted, its indoor masking requirement.

The State University of New York (SUNY) at Purchase recently reinstated its indoor masking requirement after declaring COVID community level orange. The requirement comes amidst the “tripledemic,” or rising cases of the flu, COVID, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) describes level orange as communities experiencing a “high level of severe illness” and a “[h]igh potential for healthcare system strain.” 

Other schools in the SUNY system didn’t have any change to a mask mandate on their websites,” according to a report from Bloomberg

Nassau County, the home of another college within the SUNY system, is also reporting level orange. Nassau Community College announcedm and then quickly retractedan indoor masking requirement, changing it to an “advisory” instead. 

[RELATED: University’s fall mask mandate exceeds CDC guidance]

The Purchase College website includes a fall 2022 plan with policies and procedures for handling COVID cases on campus. 

A section on remote courses says that the college offers “select courses in dual delivery modality (courses with synchronous in-person and remote)” and will train “faculty in remote delivery of course content.” 

Purchase College has a vaccine requirement for students to receive their initial doses with the exception of those who have medical or religious exemptions. “The college will continue to review medical or religious exemption requests and may designate deadlines by which students should submit any requests for timely review before the semester begins,” the plan reads. 

Students who don’t comply with masking, the “campus housing guest policy,” and other requirements are subject to discipline by the Office of Community Standards. 

[RELATED: University mandates vaccine for students but not staff] 

At the bottom of the plan are links to mental health resources, including the Counseling Center and “BIPOC therapy and self-help.” 

As colleges and universities offered remote-only instruction in 2020, studies reported the impact that isolation had on students’ mental health. “Colleges should be aware of the mental health burden associated with attending fully online classes and consider possible in-person components and supports for students,” a journal article in the JAMA Network Open reads. 

For unvaccinated students, Purchase College “has the right to limit access to some areas of campus as well as some activities or events” according to the plan. 

The plan includes the possibility that the “pandemic conditions worsen to the extent that all students must return to remote learning at some point during the semester.”

Campus Reform contacted Purchase College for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.