As the SU campus transitions to different levels of masking and mitigation, we realize faculty are concerned about safety in the classroom. Below are resources that may be useful in navigating the ongoing pandemic. We will continue to update this post.
SAMPLE Letters to students about masking:
“As an older person and a cancer survivor, I plan to continue to err on the side of caution when it comes to Covid. So I will continue to mask in class, and I request that you do the same. Please know that, while I can’t require you to wear a mask in our class, I would greatly appreciate your consideration.”
“As for the new mask-optional policy: I realize that very little corona virus is circulating right now, and I am not against the move to the “yellow” public health level. I am immuno-compromised, however, so I personally will continue to mask, at least for the two weeks after break, to allow the fluctuations from the travels over break to settle out. I ask you to consider joining me in this cautionary masking.
I also ask you to consider your anxiety level about the virus and loved ones in your life, in general, and act accordingly. If you do not mask in class, I will ask you to sit toward the back and right of the classroom as you enter it. If you still wish to mask, I will ask you to sit toward the front and left. My hope is that this gentle separation will maximize caution and thus maximize our care for one another. This suggestion is overly cautious from a biomedical point of view, but necessary, I think, for those of us who have seen our masking routines as the single mode of control available to us in an out-of-control world. The caution is affective and addressed to our collective anxieties; it is addressed to the need to recognize the time it requires for anxious persons to change habits.”
PLEASE READ THIS LETTER! Thank you!!
I’m writing in regards to the university’s current YELLOW masking status and how this change might shape your choices over the next few weeks.
I want to make sure you know that COVID cases in Onondaga County have risen over the past few weeks. Positive cases are way down since January, but we are still seeing some fluctuation, and we know from experience that when a large number of people come together from different geographical areas, transmission typically spikes.
With this in mind, I want to point out that yellow does not mean “it’s safe to unmask.” The university is still recommending masking for all vaccinated individuals indoors, especially when in close proximity to others, and requiring masking for unvaccinated individuals. Think of this color-coding system as corresponding to a traffic light: yellow means caution.
While I’m not necessarily opposed to the move to a yellow status, I personally plan to continue wearing a mask in the classroom for the next two weeks, until fluctuations in viral transmission settle out, and I ask all of you to consider joining me in this decision. I’ll carry extra masks in my bag for anyone who might need one.
I think it’s important that we remain vigilant in considering when and where it’s safe to unmask and how this virus could potentially interfere with our lives and the lives of those close to us over the next few weeks. For right now, I’d like to suggest that you continue to carry a mask with you at all times and treat this as a fluid and dynamic situation, which might still mean masking and unmasking intermittently throughout the day.
Lastly, I ask that you show sensitivity to members of our campus community who may be experiencing high levels of anxiety related to unmasking. We’re in a transitional period, and making this adjustment will be a process. Not everyone will feel ok with it at first. Let’s try to be caring and understanding of each other’s needs at this time!
Thank you so much!
Request that your department purchase an air purifier for your classroom, such as this one: https://medifyair.com/products/ma-112?fbclid=IwAR0mNfRUCZDlKI1tAp6dMYTaKSL1XzN-8rASLm-XxVbne4EcDds1DKpWSDI