University of Connecticut Announces Easing of Mask Mandate but Still Requires Masks Be Worn in All Classes, Labs

The University of Connecticut (UCONN) announced Thursday a change in its mask mandate from “required” to “recommended,” but said students, faculty, staff, and visitors would still be required to wear masks in all classes, labs, rehearsal rooms, and other spaces on the school’s campuses, at least until April 1.

The announcement, signed by Radenka Maric, interim president; Carl Lejuez, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs; and Eleanor JB Daugherty, dean of students and associate vice president for student affairs, read:

We write to share an update on the University’s masking policy. Effective Friday, March 4, masks will be “recommended” in nearly all settings on our campuses rather than “required.”

Masking will continue to be required in all instructional settings, including classes, labs, studios, rehearsal rooms, and clinics, through at least April 1, 2022, when the University will reevaluate this.

The school noted its athletic department also would be “lifting its vaccination/testing requirements for fans attending games at Gampel Pavilion and the XL Center, effective immediately.”

The officials said the “factors that allowed the university to make this change” included “consistently low COVID-19 positivity rates and very high vaccination rates among students and employees;” low positivity rates in the state of Connecticut; new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and the fact that the state is no longer requiring masks to enter state buildings.

In December, epidemiologist Dr. Paul Alexander compiled at Brownstone Institute “more than 150 comparative studies and articles on mask ineffectiveness and harms.”

Alexander prefaced the evidence with this statement, citing the Great Barrington Declaration, authored in October 2020 by Drs. Martin Kulldorff, Sunetra Gupta, and Jay Bhattacharya, and which now has over 928,000 signatures:

Because we saw very early on that the lockdowns were the single greatest mistake in public health history. We knew the history and knew they would not work. We also knew very early of COVID’s risk stratification. Sadly, our children will bear the catastrophic consequences and not just educationally, of the deeply flawed school closure policy for decades to come (particularly our minority children who were least able to afford this). Many are still pressured to wear masks and punished for not doing so.

“To date, the evidence has been stable and clear that masks do not work to control the virus and they can be harmful and especially to children,” Alexander asserted.

Industrial research scientist Stephen Petty, an expert in the use of masks, has repeatedly said the cloth masks that have been commonly used by people during the pandemic are useless in stopping the spread of the virus that causes COVID disease. Petty is featured below in an episode of his “Petty Podcast.”

Nevertheless, the UCONN officials said, “While this change means masks will not be required in most settings, the university still recommends wearing them on our campuses.”

“We also strongly encourage each member of the UConn community to continue to be flexible and courteous when it comes to masking,” they added. “Please always carry a mask with you in the event you are asked to wear it in certain close settings, such as individual or small group meetings. Members of the community will be at varying stages of comfort with mask wearing and we want to be respectful of others.”

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Susan Berry, PhD is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “University of Connecticut Students” by the University of Connecticut. 



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