The university-wide mask mandate, originally set to expire on Sept. 14, was extended indefinitely after university officials reviewed COVID-19 cases on campus and recommended the extension out of “an abundance of caution.”
According to an email sent out by Rowan on Sept. 27, all faculty, staff and students are required to wear masks in all indoor public spaces on campus, regardless of vaccination status, until further notice. On Sept 7, Rowan announced that the mandate would only last until the end of September.
The most predominant strain of COVID-19, the Delta variant, is considered more transmissible than previous variants and accounts for over half of COVID-19 cases nationwide. The Delta variant has also led to increased “breakthrough” cases among vaccinated individuals, spreading fears of COVID-19 surges.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the New Jersey Department of Health currently recommend that all students get vaccinated and continue wearing masks indoors or in crowded public areas.
As a result, Rowan University has mandated that all students must be vaccinated, and that any students who remain unvaccinated must be tested weekly to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This has led to an 87% vaccination rate among the student population.
COVID-19 cases among students are “following a downward trend,” according to university officials, a fact further corroborated by Rowan’s Confirmed Positive Case webpage.
The statistics for Monday, Sept. 27 lists only 19 students confirmed to be positive with the virus — a drastic decrease from the previous Wednesday’s 57 active cases.
After learning of the new mask mandate extension, Taylor Harris, a sophomore bioinformatics student, agreed with the university’s decision.
“I would have preferred that the mandate ended for vaccinated individuals at the end of the month, but every situation calls for different measures. So, an extension may be in the best interest of the school, depending on whether cases rise again,” Harris said.
The university will continue to urge students to follow proper social-distancing procedures and fill out the daily screening before going to class each morning.
If you or someone you have been in contact with begin to display symptoms of COVID-19, contact the Wellness Center at 856-256-4333 immediately to schedule a rapid COVID-19 test.
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