COVID

Boston College faculty question decision not to require masks in classrooms

"BC’s policy appears to impose avoidable risks on faculty, their families, and the students and other clients that they serve."

Boston College received a $75 million gift, the largest estate gift in University history. Photo by John Tlumacki/Globe Staff(metro)

Boston College faculty are questioning the school’s decision not to require vaccinated people to wear masks in classrooms.

More than 200 faculty members sent an open letter to BC administrators on Sunday pushing back on the policy, according to The Boston Globe.

“Given the dangers from the delta variant of COVID-19, and given the measures that are being taken throughout the state and at peer institutions, BC’s policy is difficult to understand,” they wrote.

In a statement to the Globe, BC spokesman Jack Dunn cited BC’s 99% vaccination rate for students, faculty, and staff, as well as its ongoing testing program, as the reason for not requiring masks in classrooms. He said the college is prepared to revise the policy if needed.

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“BC’s policy appears to impose avoidable risks on faculty, their families, and the students and other clients that they serve,” the faculty wrote in the letter. “It introduces unnecessary complexity into classroom relationships.”

In the Boston area, Harvard, BU, MIT, Northeastern, Suffolk, Tufts, and UMass Boston are all requiring masks in classrooms with few exceptions, the Globe reported.

According to its website, Boston College is requiring all students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with typical exemptions, and vaccinated community members are not required to wear masks on campus. All unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff with approved exemptions, as well as guests, must wear masks indoors and outdoors. Masks are required for everyone on BC transit systems, and Boston and Newton also have mask advisories, so masks must be worn indoors in all spaces open to the public.

Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller told the Globe that Newton’s public health team would be requesting that BC mandates masks in classrooms at a Wednesday meeting.

“This would be a wonderful and important public health step to help all of us in the broader community,” Fuller said. “We are respectfully requesting that Boston College expand the good steps that they have already taken … and that masks be required in all indoor spaces on the campus regardless of vaccination status.”

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