March 02, 2022 BK LI

As many of you are aware, colleges and universities across New York are lifting mask mandates, or planning to lift them in the near future. This very welcome change comes as positivity rates in our regions drop to levels we have not seen in many months. 

Throughout the pandemic, St. Joseph’s has placed the safety of all our community first. We have carefully followed state and federal mandates, but also made our own decisions on preventive measures when necessary. Because of this, and through your dedicated efforts, we managed to thrive as an institution at a time when many other colleges and universities struggled with enrollments and high rates of illness.

Governor Hochul recently announced that the masking requirement for public schools (K-12) is ending effective March 2. In addition, the CDC has established COVID-19 Community Level guidelines, and the New York City and Long Island areas have been designated as “low,” stating that the wearing of masks should be “based on personal preference, informed by your personal level of risk.”

In keeping with our approach to be aligned with guidelines from both the state and CDC, we have made the decision, in consultation with our COVID Response Team, and endorsed by the Board of Trustees, to lift the mask mandate at St. Joseph’s effective immediately.

It is understood that some members of our community will want to continue to wear masks, and we are fully supportive of that. It is important to note that our vaccine and booster requirements will remain in place, and we will continue to require weekly testing for persons with medical or religious exemptions from receiving the COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots. Persons who are experiencing symptoms or who have COVID-19 will still be required to complete the appropriate form on the portal. Students and faculty participating at clinical and/or internship sites must continue to comply with the masking and other COVID-19 protocols in place at those sites.

Of course, should there be a recurrence of the virus during the semester, and if the state, local and federal entities change their guidelines and directives, we will reinstate the current masking policies, or take other measures as necessary to protect the community.

The long and challenging COVID journey, or at least the worst part of it, is nearing an end. Taking this approach will ensure that we make the best of this situation and move with confidence into the final weeks of the semester. Thank you for your continued support of our efforts throughout this pandemic. We look forward to a brighter future ahead.