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  • Amherst College in Massachusetts has introduced a new masking policy under which each student would be provided an anonymous survey
  • The students would be able to express their views on whether they want a mask mandate in the classroom
  • If one student or professor wants one, it will be enforced for the entire class 
  • The school previously required all students to wear KN95 masks in all classrooms and other instructional settings

woke liberal arts college has introduced a new masking policy that would require all students in a class to wear face masks if a single person requests them using an anonymous survey. 

Under the new policy at Amherst College in Massachusetts, each student and teacher would be provided an anonymous survey in which they could express their views on whether they want a mask mandate in their classroom.

The new guidance was created by Catherine Epstein, provost and dean of faculty at the Massachusetts school, who wrote to her colleagues on September 29 that the new policy will go into effect on October 17.

At that time, she wrote, classrooms, teaching laboratories an all other instructional spaces ‘will either continue to require masking or be mask optional, depending on the outcome of an anonymous survey conducted in each class or lab.

‘Prior to October 17, faculty members will conduct an anonymous survey of their classes, either by collecting handwritten (no names!) responses to the question, ‘Should masks be required in this class?’ or by distributing a survey,’ she explained.

‘If anyone in the class, including the instructor, wants to continue with masking, then masks will be required,’ Epstein wrote. ‘Additionally, even those classes that determine that masks will be optional will respect an individual’s choice to wear a mask.’

Amherst College (pictured) has become known for its strict masking policies
She wrote that, under the new policy, each student would be provided an anonymous survey in which they could express their views on whether they want a mask mandate in their classroom. But if just one student or professor wants a mask, it will be required for the entire class

She added that ‘faculty are encouraged to revisit the decision with another survey in early November,’ and emphasized that following the Thanksgiving break ‘the college will require a stricter masking protocol for an appropriate duration.’  

Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com, Caroline Hanna, director of media communications for the school, said the idea is to let each classroom determine mask policy for themselves. 

It comes even though COVID cases are continuing to plummet throughout the country, as the majority of Americans move on from the pandemic.

Observing stringent COVID safety procedures is now seen as a mark of progressive behavior, with many proudly declaring that they still continue to follow strict virus protocols, while accusing those who don’t of being uncaring conservatives.  

As of September 27, there were 9,047 new confirmed cases in Massachusetts, with just 245 people primarily hospitalized for the virus.

And throughout the country, COVID cases have steadily declined to 45,725 new cases as of Friday, with 3,570 new hospitalizations and just 325 new COVID-related deaths.

Catherine Epstein, provost and dean of faculty at Amherst College, wrote to her colleagues about the school’s new masking policy on September 29

The new guidance is a marked change from the school’s policy just one month ago that required all students to wear a KN95 mask in classrooms, studios, teaching laboratories and all other instructional spaces.

In an exclusive statement to DailyMail.com, Hanna said: ‘Like much of the rest of the world, our masking policy has evolved over the past two and a half years, as the pandemic has evolved.

‘The goal is for each class to determine its desired policy in the classroom.’ 

The new guidance is a marked change from the school’s policy just one month ago that required all students to wear a KN95 mask in classrooms, studios, teaching laboratories and all other instructional spaces

Amherst has become known over the past few years for its strict masking policies.

Prior to the Fall 2021 semester, the college announced it had tightened its public health precautions as the Delta variant continued to spread. 

Under its policy at the time, all employees, faculty and students were required to wear face coverings while inside campus buildings — regardless of vaccination status.

Students were also required to double-mask if they did not have a KN95 at that time.

But the new guidance, issued shortly before the semester began, prompted some students to write an open letter to administrators.

In the letter, the Amherst Student reports, more than 250 students at the school asked administrators to be more transparent about its decision-making process, factor in student voice and repeal some of the new restrictions.

‘This updates set of guidelines appears to be out of line with the current CDC, state, local and peer institution standards for COVID-19 response, and we demand revision and clarification,’ the letter read.

‘It is currently challenging to believe that Amherst remains committed to our full student experience, and difficult to regain the typical enthusiasm that comes with returning to campus each fall.’

Then in March, as many schools throughout the country started to lift COVID restrictions due to the declining numbers, the college required that a KN95 mask be worn in all indoor spaces, common and public spaces.

‘Masks are optional for students in their residence halls, except at programmed events,’ Amherst’s policy said at the time. 

‘KN95 masks will continue to be required in all other indoor campus spaces, except when alone in a private office with the door closed,’ it said, adding that although masks are not required outdoors, students are asked ‘to have a mask on hand.

‘Whether indoors or outdoors, we encourage everyone to share with one another their masking preferences and to respect one another’s wishes,’ it said at the time.


source: DailyMail

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