How This Semester’s Mask Mandates Have Changed

With implementing serious mask mandates in buildings and resident halls, the university has been able to keep Covid-19 cases low. Photo by Charlotte May from Pexels

The University of Connecticut has implemented updated mask mandates and COVID-19 protocols to ensure members of the community stay safe and maintain a relatively normal fall 2021 semester on campus. 

Effective May 2021, UConn Health published an updated mask and COVID-19 safety protocol that students and faculty are expected to follow throughout the fall and spring semesters unless otherwise noted.  

UConn announced that while inside a university building, it was expected that masks be worn at all times regardless of vaccination status, the UConn Health Mask Protocol page reads.   

The university also announced that all students residing on campus in the fall 2021 semester were required to be fully vaccinated, in an email sent to students and staff over the summer.  

With the updated safety protocols, UConn has been able to maintain low numbers of positive cases on campus with a current positivity rate of less than .05%, the UConn COVID Dashboard, updated as of Oct. 6, said.  

The negative effects and spread of COVID-19 have decreased in the past several months and have allowed students and staff to remain safe on campus and in-person.  The continued low positivity rates have caused some students to be more lax with mask wearing and following all of the university’s policies. 

Tulsi Patel, a fifth-semester nursing student and RA in Towers dorms, has seen first-hand the extent to which her residents have been following the mask wearing guidelines while in university buildings. 

“Last year, there were more restrictions on Covid regulations, and with less people living on campus, we did not have to worry much about people breaking these rules,” Patel said.  “During the first couple weeks of school, I saw students not wearing masks in common areas, but now, they have generally been seen following the rules.” 

Compared to last year, the university has been able to take away many COVID-19 protocols based on state and national numbers, the UConn COVID Dashboard shows.  

“Outside resident halls, I have seen people wearing mask whenever they enter buildings, in classrooms and in the library when studying,” Patel said.

Anthony Antony, a fifth-semester physiology and neurobiology  and sociology major, has been an RA since his sophomore year, and he is currently residing in Werth Tower for the H2O learning community this semester.  

He too has been able to see firsthand how well students have been following the university’s updated guidelines.  

“Most of the students I have seen have been following these rules in Werth.  I’ve seen people follow the rules in general. Only at the Rec Center do some people take off their masks in between sets to breathe,” Antony said. 

Unless actively eating or outside, students are expected to properly wear their masks in any university building, the Temporary Health and Safety Procedures Document for fall 2021 reads.  

“Outside of residence halls, I have seen people wearing masks whenever they enter buildings, in classrooms and in the library when studying,” Patel said.  

UConn Residential Life also published its own health and safety protocols for students to follow in the fall 2021 semester. This letter emphasized the points that UConn Health stated and broke down exactly what was expected of students, the Temporary Health and Safety Procedures Document for fall 2021 reads.  

With efforts from students and staff, UConn has been able to keep its community safe this semester, Antony said.   

“I think that we’re heading in the right direction of slowly getting back to how things were before Covid,” Antony said. “The in-person events and classes all have been important in helping individuals recuperate from a year of some social isolation and the rules enforced by RAs will help encourage more lax restrictions in the future if individuals follow the present rules.” 

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