Amherst College launches anonymous survey to determine if masks are necessary

A woke liberal arts college has introduced a new masking policy that would require all students in a class to wear face masks as long as one person requests them.

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

The new direction 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 take effect on October 17.

At that time, she wrote, classrooms, teaching labs and all other teaching spaces “will continue to require masking or be optionally masked, depending on the results of a anonymous survey conducted in each class or laboratory”.

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

“If anyone in the class, including the instructor, wishes to continue masking, masks will be required,” Epstein wrote. “Furthermore, even classes that determine that masks will be optional will respect an individual’s choice to wear a mask.”

She added that “faculty are encouraged to revisit the decision with another investigation in early November” and pointed out that after the Thanksgiving break “the college will require a stricter masking protocol for an appropriate amount of time.”

Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com, Caroline Hanna, director of media communications at the school, said the idea was to let each class determine the mask policy themselves.

This comes as COVID cases continue to fall across the country.

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

And nationwide, COVID cases steadily declined to 45,725 new cases on 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

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

She wrote that under the new policy, each student would receive an anonymous survey in which they could express their views on whether they want a mask mandate in their classroom.  But if only one student or teacher wants a mask, it will be compulsory for the whole class.

She wrote that under the new policy, each student would receive an anonymous survey in which they could express their views on whether they want a mask mandate in their classroom. But if only one student or teacher wants a mask, it will be compulsory for the whole class.

The new direction is a marked change from school policy just a month ago that required all students to wear a KN95 mask in classrooms, studios, teaching labs and all other teaching spaces.

In an exclusive statement to DailyMail.com, Hanna said: “Like much of the world’s ret, 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 their desired classroom policy.”

The new directive is a marked change from school policy just a month ago that required all students to wear a KN95 mask in classrooms, studios, teaching labs and all other teaching spaces

The new directive is a marked change from school policy just a month ago that required all students to wear a KN95 mask in classrooms, studios, teaching labs and all other teaching spaces

Amherst has become known in recent years for its strict masking policies.

Prior to the fall 2021 semester, the college announced that 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 inside campus buildings, regardless of their vaccination status.

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

But the new guidelines, released shortly before the start of the semester, prompted some students to write an open letter to administrators.

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

“This updated set of guidelines appears to be inconsistent with current CDC, state, local, and peer institution standards for the response to COVID-19, and we require revision and clarifications,” reads the statement. letter.

“It’s currently hard to believe that Amherst remains committed to our full student experience, and hard to recapture the typical enthusiasm that comes with returning to campus each fall.”

Amherst College (pictured) has become known for its strict masking policies

Amherst College (pictured) has become known for its strict masking policies

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

“Masks are optional for students in their residence halls, except during scheduled events,” Amherst policy stated at the time.

“KN95 masks will continue to be required in all other indoor spaces on campus, except when alone in a private office with the door closed,” he said, adding that although masks are not compulsory outside, students are asked “to have a mask at hand”. .

“Whether indoors or out, we encourage everyone to share their masking preferences and respect everyone’s wishes,” he said at the time.

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