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CUNY must revisit mask requirement now

May 19, 2022

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Dear PSC Members,

I hope this finds you well as the end of the semester approaches.

Like many of you, we are alarmed by the rapid resurgence of COVID-19 in New York City and concerned for the health and safety of our students, colleagues, and families. The PSC has consistently advocated sensible mask-wearing indoors at CUNY during the pandemic, regardless of vaccination status. We recognize the tradeoffs with respect to comfort and ease of communication, but also know that safety is paramount. On Tuesday, I contacted Chancellor Matos to strongly urge that mask-wearing be required once again at CUNY. I noted the recent advisory from the NYC Commissioner of Health & Mental Hygiene, the City Health department guidance, and the reports that NYC had just reached a high level of risk. The University’s latest guidance on mask-wearing and other COVID mitigation measures was predicated on the CDC’s Community Levels metric, so a change is now in order.

This week’s return to a high level of risk in the city, per CDC metrics, means that all members of the campus community should wear masks in common spaces on campus, and the CUNY administration should change their guidance and communicate accordingly.

Since CUNY employees are also required to participate in commencement ceremonies, some of which are held indoors, I conveyed the union’s expectation that the University’s guidance on mask-wearing extend to these CUNY indoor events, regardless of the policy of each individual venue.

CUNY should prioritize our health and safety and comply with plain CDC guidance without the union’s urging. But as was the case last August – with the start of the academic year coinciding with the rise of the Delta variant – once again it is necessary to press management to do the right thing and #MaskUpCUNY.

Stay safe, and take care of yourselves and one another.

In solidarity,

James Davis, President
Professional Staff Congress-CUNY

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