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George Mason University Refuses To Repeal Classroom Mask Mandate Despite Less Than 1 Percent Covid Positivity

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George Mason University (GMU), a school located just outside D.C. in Northern Virginia, is leaving some of its schoolwide mask mandates in place after previously giving its students false hope that such mandates would be fully repealed by early March.

In a March 4 email sent to students, GMU President Gregory Washington announced that the school would be rolling back some of its current masking requirements. He noted that the university had met its goal of “keeping [its] COVID-19 testing positivity rates consistently below 4 percent for the past several weeks.”

“[T]he latest guidance from the CDC indicates that all of our domestic campuses are at the ‘Low’ level of transmission, which now means the CDC no longer recommends that masks be required indoors,” the email read. “Last week our positivity rate dropped to 0.29 percent out of more than 4,700 tests conducted. … Based on this achievement, I am pleased to announce that Mason is now at Mask Level Yellow, which means effective immediately masks are optional at Mason, except in classrooms and class labs during scheduled classes and/or lab activity.”

“There are several other minor and targeted exceptions that you can read by following the link on the Safe Return to Campus website,” Washington added.

While the declaration to move away from schoolwide mask mandates might seem encouraging, continuing to require them in class and labs pulls the rug out from under students after Washington gave them false hope at the beginning of the semester. While announcing in a Jan. 31 email that GMU would be revoking its Covid jab mandate for students and faculty, Washington made clear that the administration would be “setting a university goal of Friday, March 4 as the day [they] can consider lifting university-wide masking requirements” if there was “a consistent positivity rate among [Covid] tests of 4 percent or less for the next five weeks.”

In the same email, Washington also implied that the school’s indoor mask requirements would be fully repealed, saying that the university would “continue to strongly encourage masking indoors and when required for isolation or quarantine, per CDC guidance” if the mandates were lifted.

“If we can hang in there for just five more weeks, we can finally make COVID-19 controllable so it stops controlling us,” Washington wrote. “Once we reach this milestone we can consider reducing our masking protocols to encourage people to wear masks as they see prudent.”

The failure of GMU’s administration to fully revoke the mask mandate despite remarkably low virus positivity is the latest example of American schools slow-walking the removal of unscientific and irrational Covid restrictions for their students. Much like GMU, James Madison University and the University of Virginia announced that they would be relaxing indoor masking requirements for most places, with some of the exceptions also being inside classrooms and labs.

University administrations continue to ignore the reality that wearing a flimsy mask does not stop the spread of Covid. As noted by Federalist Assistant Editor Elle Reynolds, even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has admitted “that the thin cloth masks the agency and its corporate media allies spent the last two years cheering actually ‘provide the least protection’ against COVID-19.”

Moreover, these nonsensical policies continue to ignore the low risk that Covid-19 poses to the vast majority of young adults, whose immune systems are much better equipped to deal with the respiratory disease than the elderly or immunocompromised. As of Feb. 16, 2022, for instance, less than 1 percent of the country’s Covid-related deaths are of people under the age of 30, while those under 65 have a survival rate of 99.87 percent.

In spite of such information, however, American universities such as GMU will continue to ignore the scientific data available to them and rob their students of the normal college experience they desperately want and deserve.