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American News Jan 18, 2022 12:28 AM EST

US colleges set to impose new N95 masking requirements, increased pandemic restrictions as classes reopen

Restrictions may not be doing much to lower the number of infections in cities, but colleges and universities are going ahead with adding new COVID-19 protocols as classes are set to resume.

US colleges set to impose new N95 masking requirements, increased pandemic restrictions as classes reopen
Ian Miles Cheong Montreal, QC

Restrictions may not be doing much to lower the number of infections in cities, but colleges and universities are going ahead with adding new COVID-19 protocols as classes are set to resume.

Colleges around the United States are setting up new safety protocols amid the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, installing restrictions that have already interrupted campus life as some classes move online and in-person activities remain limited.

According to Fox News, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore plans to require N95 or KN95 masks or a combination of a cloth mask and a surgical mask for every student and faculty member returning to campus, the school announced on Friday. Masks will also be distributed throughout the campus.

In addition to the mask requirement, the school is imposing a Feb. 1 deadline for booster shots and students on campus will be tested twice a week. Those returning to live on campus will be required to quarantine. Likewise, dining facilities will shift to a takeaway service, with no in-house dining. Any non-academic indoor events of more than 50 people will require special permission through Feb. 6.

"COVID is a serious and exhausting challenge, but it is important to emphasize how much better prepared we are to face the virus now than we were when it first emerged almost two years ago," said the school, which is reopening classes on Jan. 24.

Elsewhere across the country, schools including Duke University, American University, Georgetown University, Stanford University, Northwestern University, Belmont University, and the University of California campuses have announced a move to online classes away from in-person learning.

The move has seen little pushback from students apart from conservative and libertarian students in Georgetown who spoke up against Zoom classes, which they argue is unnecessary as the school has already implemented vaccine and mask mandates.

"Every student stepping on campus this upcoming semester will be fully vaccinated with boosters, unless they have received one of the University’s illusive exemptions," said Luke Bunting and Elana Quint, co-presidents of a group representing the right-leaning students. "If these vaccines are effective, as the school continually claims, why is virtual instruction – an option the University and Law Center acknowledge comes with significant costs to learning, engagement, and student wellbeing – even an option in a post-vaccine word?"

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