Rutgers University Reinstates Mask Mandate After Complaints From Faculty Unions

United States North America Higher Education News COVID-19 by Erudera News Oct 07, 2022

University students wearing masks in classrooms

Rutgers University has temporarily reinstated the mask mandate, requiring everyone at the university to wear masks in libraries on campus.

The announcement comes after complaints made from three faculty unions at the university (AAUP-AFT, AAUP-BHSNJ, and PTLFC), seeking to prevent the university from implementing and enforcing the mask policy, reports.

In a statement posted on Rutgers University’s website, the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Antonio M. Calcado, said that the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) allows individual faculty members to make masks mandatory in indoor teaching spaces.

Calcado said that the decision to remove the mask mandate was taken based on the current state and federal practices, science and data.

Today’s action by PERC is temporary and will remain in place until a final decision is made by PERC following its consideration of the submissions by the university and the unions. The university is confident that its September 26 announcement was consistent with all applicable state and federal laws,” Calcado said.

On September 26, Rutgers updated its COVID-19 guidance, with changes expected to be implemented as of October 1, 2022.

“We are making these changes after careful consultation with our own medical experts and in recognition of a stable public health situation on our campuses and across the state,” the school said on September 26 after updating its COVID-19 protocols.

Regarding face coverings, Rutgers had decided to no longer require them in most indoor spaces; however, it encouraged individuals to wear a mask in spaces where masks are optional if they want to do so, adding that the school fully respects an individual’s personal choice in this regard.

The university has not changed the vaccination requirement, as it continues to ask students and employees to be fully vaccinated and get a booster if eligible. It has also advised other community members to receive vaccine boosters once they are eligible. Despite its vaccine requirement, students and employees can no longer receive boosters on campus as Rutgers has closed COVID-19 vaccination locations by September 30.

Recently, Oakland University told students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the academic year 2022/23, except for students who pursue online lessons only. The deadline to upload their proof of vaccination is December 12, 2022.

Rutgers University was established in 1766, and it is the 8th oldest university in the nation. Today, it is home to more than 69,000 students from all 50 states and international students from more than 130 countries.

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