• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Photo: Headshot of Rich Barlow, an older white man with dark grey hair and wearing a grey shirt and grey-blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 26 comments on BU’s Mask Mandate to End March 7, with Exceptions

  1. A question, to clarify: Are faculty and staff able to ask students to wear a mask while inside their own, private offices?

    1. And may I follow-up by asking, are the faculty themselves required to wear their mask during office hours in their office when students are present there?

      1. Faculty are not required to wear a mask during office hours in their office when students are present. While not required, someone could ask (but not require) another person to wear a mask while in close contact. A high-quality mask worn correctly and consistently will significantly reduce the risk of viral transmission even if others around you are not masked.

  2. I question the prudence of changing masking and testing protocols right before/during the spring recess. Wouldn’t it be safer (and of little inconvenience) to wait until two weeks after spring break and all the travel and exposure that our community will likely have?

    1. I was thinking this too! All these kids are going to go party for a week straight. We know that when students have left campus in the past for break that we see a large spike in cases the few weeks after they return.

        1. What a privileged response. I’m guessing mommy and daddy are paying for a nice vacay to a party on the beach?
          The evidence shows that cases among students spike after breaks. This is about protecting others. Is it that hard for you to care about others? Don’t be privileged and self-centered; it’s not a good look.

          1. Look at the arrogance in your response to this person. You talk about privilege but you sit on your computer and try to insult people with your virtue signaling. Ad hominem is not an argument. Show evidence and have a dialogue. That person shares the point of view of many people at this school and they should have a voice too. Don’t insult people into censorship, it’s not a good look.

    2. Totally agree with those post-Spring-Break concerns. Why _not_ wait till 2 weeks post-break to implement the masking/testing changes?

    3. Will we be having this conversation for every holiday that *gasp* young people dare to have fun during? College students are rarely at any risk. If you are afraid of post spring break transmission, wear a mask. Colleges have always been hotbeds of respiratory diseases.

      1. See my comment above. Your comment is so privileged and comes off that you don’t care about others as long as you can party on a beach somewhere.
        We wear masks to prevent us from spreading COVID in the case that we are asymptomatic or haven’t tested yet but are in fact spreading virus. It’s literally about caring about other people. A mask is not an inconvenience, but it can save others lives. Literally just care about others a little bit.

        1. Talking about ‘privilege’ while also saying a mask is not an inconvenience is a little ironic there, concerned about spring break. What about people who are hearing impaired and rely on lip reading to help navigate the world – or have they been ‘privileged’ for the last 2 years by effectively being shut out of most communication? Or how about the still unknown (starting to come out now) affects masks have on children while developing speech patterns/recognition?

          Stay inside forever if you’re truly that scared, don’t push your irrational fears on others because you want someone to constantly oversee and protect you.

          Literally just care about others a little bit.

  3. I’m concerned because according to the dash board it looks like the number of positive cases on campus is higher than we saw for most of last semester. If we have higher cases than last semester why are we doing away with protective measures? Also, it seems like we have been able to manage on campus because of testing and masking; without these protective measures won’t the already high number of positive cases/week shoot up even higher? I wish the university was being more transparent about how they are making these decisions and inviting students, faculty, and staff to participate, rather than just sending out new emails every other week. I think we should keep masks in effect until the end of the semester.

      1. I’m not worried about your health, I’m worried about public health. The point of the masks, more than protecting the wearer, is to protect others in the case that the wearer doesn’t know they are infected. It’s to prevent you from spreading COVID if you are infectious and don’t know. It’s literally just about caring about others, even a little. Is it really that hard to care about others?

  4. Long overdue and about time the ridiculous “mask” mandate was lifted. For the first time, I extend my kudos to Dr. Platt for some eventual common sense on this vaccinated campus. I am already laughing at the folks questioning the the logic behind this move. They just don’t want to move on and let go of this ugly chapter that bestowed us all.

  5. I was very happy to learn that the mask mandate was lifted on campus. I think it should have happened earlier, but better late than never. I am thoroughly looking forward to actually “seeing” many more young faces on campus, and this is definitely cause for celebration! I sincerely hope, however, that those who did not want the mandate to be lifted will not try to force their own views on those of us who will opt not to wear a mask. Will we be protected from those with strong views who believe that we should continue to wear them?

    1. You don’t need protected from us, we need protected from you. Literally masks are to protect others by preventing you from transmitting the virus to us. Give up on the persecution complex, it’s not a good look.

  6. I have to say, I kinda feel for Judy Platt — this is one of those decisions where you just can’t win, in terms of everyone’s opinion.

    Count me among those who feel dropping the masks is a positive step and long overdue. Fortunately, 90+ percent of BU (maybe close to 100?) is vaccinated, so requiring masks as well was like wearing a belt *and* suspenders. (As opposed to folks who oppose both masks and the vaccine, who I guess in this metaphor are walking around with no pants on.)

    That said, going forward, nobody should judge anyone for wearing an N95/KN95 mask to protect themselves — maybe they have a baby or an immuno-compromised elder at home, maybe they’re battling a flu but had to go to the store to get medicine — there are all sorts of reasons someone might need or choose to wear one.

    By the same token, again, now that we’re mostly vaccinated hereabouts, if you see folks *not* wearing a mask, today, in 2022, the odds are that they’re fully vaccinated and boosted and pose no threat to you, that they believe in the science and are not making some kooky statement but rather are simply going about their business the way humans have for generations.

    Is the transition going to be rocky? Sure. But frankly, when it comes to threats to our health, we all need to unite right now and tackle climate change. (Also threats to democracy, which is closely related considering authoritarians don’t believe in climate science.) Covid concern will have to take its place in the back of our minds along with worries about all the other diseases that exist but that we continue to deal with somehow.

  7. Public health officials have been screaming that the CDC is wrong to recommend rolling back precautions and lowering standards and we now know it is happening because of political pressure from the White House. We should not be following the CDC is the wrong direction. Since Omicron BU has done the opposite of leading when it comes to protecting people. But hey, who cares about small children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, right? We gotta let people die so rich peoples stock can go up a fraction of a percent and Americans don’t have to wear masks. The way BU has acted since January has been dangerous and stupid. Our leadership should be ashamed. If I didn’t need the paternity leave from this place I would quit.

    1. Who has gotten critically ill at BU since January? Anyone? I believe we would have heard. When will this end if not starting now? BU has the most protected population on the planet with vaccines and boosters. Either we trust the science or give up. It is time to move on.

  8. If you’re threatened by this decision— don’t be. You can choose to wear an N95, social distance, or leave BU. The vast majority of the BU community are healthy young people who benefit from unhampered communication. Take responsibility for your own health; do not force thousands of young people to go through another miserable restricted semester for your own selfish needs.

  9. BU Mask Mandates End (3/7) except in the classrooms (4/4), and ticketed public venues (?). Why wait an extra month for the classrooms? Where is the science behind that? Enough already. Young vaccinated students are hardly at risk for hospitalization & death. That’s the science. People need to stop living in fear & move on. Additionally, if 70,000+ people can show up maskless at the Super Bowl in restrictive CA, I am sure maskless BU ticketed public venues would also be ok.

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