Opinions, Op-Ed

Boston College Professors Request a Classroom Mask Mandate: An Open Letter to Boston College Administrators

We faculty members of Boston College write to request a masking mandate in classrooms. In response to the new known and unknown dangers that we now face from the Delta variant of COVID-19, most peer colleges and universities have classroom mask mandates—from Holy Cross to Harvard, Boston University, and many others. Brookline and Newton K-12 schools have a mask mandate, and the mayors of Newton and Boston have issued mask mandates in indoor public spaces. 

At this point, BC has decided to return to campus without a mask mandate, except as required in spaces accessible to the general public, as mandated by Boston and Newton. 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 for us to understand. BC’s policy appears to impose avoidable risks on faculty, their families, and the students and other clients that they serve, and it introduces unnecessary complexity into classroom relationships. 

Faculty members and graduate instructors across the schools and departments of this University have concerns such as:

  • According to the CDC, certain vaccinated people remain at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, including older adults and those who have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart conditions. Many BC faculty and staff, and members of their families, fall in this category. A mask mandate will prioritize their protection.
  • A great many colleagues have unvaccinated young children at home, for whom vaccines are not available. A mask mandate will protect these young children, as well as others in the schools that the children attend.
  • Many BC students are in academic programs that require in-person contact with unvaccinated children in schools or clinical settings off-campus. Further, Campion Hall is home to the Boston College Campus School, which serves young children with severe special needs who are acutely vulnerable. Mandatory masking in classrooms would help protect these children. 
  • Some colleagues may be required to consider not teaching in conditions that they feel are excessively risky. ​​
  • BC tours, prospective students on self-guided audio tours, and unmonitored access to most buildings on campus means that stairwells, hallways, lounges, restrooms, and classrooms are places where members of the public can enter at will.
  • The lack of a mask mandate puts unnecessary pressure on teacher-student relationships. Faculty who wish to implement a mask policy in the classroom are only allowed to make a request, but they may not require masking. This requires extra negotiation between students and teachers and introduces potential stress between participants in a classroom. Many professors will do this creatively and skillfully, but it is an extra step that a mandate would eliminate. ‌

Another‌ ‌set‌ ‌of‌ ‌considerations‌ ‌is‌ ‌that‌ the ‌current‌ ‌COVID-19‌ ‌prevention‌ ‌policy‌ ‌on‌ ‌BC’s‌ ‌campuses‌ ‌is‌ ‌now‌ ‌formulated‌ ‌in‌ ‌reaction‌ ‌to‌ ‌municipal‌ ‌guidelines,‌ ‌so‌ ‌that‌ ‌‌policy‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌Brighton‌ ‌campus‌ ‌is‌ ‌ different‌ ‌from‌ ‌policy‌ ‌on‌ ‌Newton‌ ‌campus‌,‌ ‌when‌ ‌Newton‌ ‌and‌ ‌Boston‌ ‌policy‌ ‌differ.‌ ‌‌We‌ ‌would‌ ‌like‌ ‌to‌ ‌see‌ ‌the‌ ‌University‌ ‌prioritize‌ ‌coherence‌ ‌and‌ ‌proactivity‌ ‌in‌ ‌prevention‌ ‌policy,‌‌ with‌ ‌a‌ ‌mask‌ mandate‌ ‌for‌ ‌all‌ ‌campuses.‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Last‌ ‌year,‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌community,‌ ‌we‌ ‌met‌ ‌unprecedented‌ ‌challenges‌ ‌with‌ ‌unexpected‌ ‌success,‌ ‌due‌ ‌to‌ ‌diligence,‌ ‌generosity,‌ ‌communication,‌ ‌and‌ ‌genuine‌ ‌care‌ ‌for‌ ‌others.‌ ‌We‌ ‌are‌ ‌optimistic‌ ‌that‌ ‌BC’s‌ ‌ community‌ ‌is‌ ‌sufficiently‌ ‌generous,‌ ‌flexible,‌ ‌and‌ ‌intelligent‌ ‌to‌ ‌deal‌ ‌with‌ ‌what‌ ‌arises‌ ‌this‌ ‌year.‌ ‌ ‌

Sincerely,‌ ‌ ‌

The‌ ‌BC American Association of University Professors ‌Executive‌ ‌Board‌ (Yonder Gillihan, President) ‌

Faculty‌ ‌for‌ ‌Justice‌ ‌‌

Individual Signatures of Faculty

  1. Allison Adair, English
  2. Lillie R. Albert, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  3. Emrah Altindis, Biology
  4. James E. Anderson, Economics
  5. Lynne Anderson, English
  6. Stefano Anzellotti, Psychology and Neuroscience
  7. Angela Ards, English
  8. Grace Arenas, English
  9. Anatoly Arlashin, Economics
  10. James Aronson, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  11. Avner Ash, Mathematics
  12. Sarah Babb, Sociology
  13. Karl Baden, Art, Art History, and Film
  14. Susanto Basu, Economics
  15. Ethan Baxter, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  16. Sharon Beckman, Law
  17. Sarah H. Beckjord, Romance Languages and Literatures
  18. Mark Behn, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  19. Jennifer Behr, Law
  20. Juliana Belding, Mathematics
  21. Dianne Berg, English
  22. Pamela Berger, Art, Art History, and Film
  23. Fernando R. Bernava, Romance Languages and Literatures
  24. Suzanne Berne, English
  25. Theresa Betancourt, School of Social Work
  26. Fraser Binns, Mathematics
  27. Jessica Black, School of Social Work
  28. Robert Bloom, Law
  29. Angela Boatman, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  30. Amy Boesky, English
  31. Kristen Bottema-Beutel, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  32. Julian Bourg, History
  33. Cheryl Bratt, Law
  34. Benjamin Braude, History
  35. Joe Breines, Romance Languages and Literatures
  36. Kris Brewer, Art, Art History, and Film
  37. Martin Bridgeman, Mathematics
  38. Mark Brodin, Law
  39. David Broido, Physics
  40. Robyn Brooks, Mathematics
  41. Nathaniel Brown, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  42. Kenneth Stephen Burch, Physics
  43. Jane Cassidy, Art, Art History, and Film
  44. Jacob Caudell, Mathematics
  45. Ryan Chahrour, Economics
  46. Abhishek Chatterjee, Chemistry
  47. Meghna Chaudhuri, History
  48. Dawei Chen, Mathematics
  49. Qile Chen, Mathematics
  50. Xiao Chen, Physics
  51. Sing-chen Lydia Chiang, Eastern, Slavic, and German Studies
  52. Mary Ann Chirba, Law
  53. Paul Christensen, Political Science and International Studies
  54. Vincent Cho,, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  55. Sammy Chong, Art, Art History, and Film
  56. Paul Cichello, Economics
  57. Hannah Clay, English
  58. Peter Clote, Biology
  59. Marilyn Cochran-Smith,  Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  60. Caleb Cole, Art, Art History, and Film
  61. Rebekah Levine Coley,  Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  62. Sara Cordes, Psychology and Neuroscience
  63. Andy Crow, English 
  64. Maria Cruz, Theology 
  65. Allison Curseen, English and African and African Diaspora Studies
  66. Carrie Cushman, Art, Art History, and Film
  67. Deanna Malvesti Danforth, English
  68. Kyrah Malika Daniels, Art History and African and African Diaspora Studies
  69. Natana J. DeLong-Bas, Theology and Islamic Civilization and Societies
  70. Charles Derber, Sociology
  71. Alethea Desrosiers, School of Social Work
  72. Claire Donohue, Law
  73. Rebecca Dunn, Biology
  74. Ikram Easton, Eastern, Slavic, and German Studies
  75. Joyce K. Edmonds, Connell School of Nursing
  76. Sarah Ehrich, English
  77. Hanne Eisenfeld, Classical Studies
  78. Jan Engelbrecht, Physics
  79. Can Erbil, Economics
  80. Jennifer Erickson, Political Science and International Studies
  81. Wen Fan, Sociology
  82. Maksym Fedorchuk, Mathematics
  83. Maggie Ferguson, English
  84. Emine Fetvaci, Art, Art History and Film
  85. Robin Fleming, History
  86. Daniel Fox, Chemistry
  87. Rhonda Frederick, English and African, and African Diaspora Studies
  88. Solomon Friedberg, Mathematics
  89. Vincent Fusaro, School of Social Work
  90. Gomathy Ganapathy, Mathematics
  91. Jianmin Gao, Chemistry
  92. Frank J. Garcia, Law
  93. Kim Garcia, English
  94. Zachary Gardner, Mathematics
  95. Stella Gastineau, Mathematics
  96. Dacia Gentilella, English
  97. Yota Gikas, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  98. Yohana Gil Berrio, Romance Languages
  99. Yonder Gillihan, Theology
  100. Ellen Goldstein, Mathematics
  101. Lisa Goodman, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  102. Michael Graf, Physics
  103. Elizabeth Graver, English 
  104. Joshua Greene, Mathematics
  105. Rob Gross, Mathematics
  106. Nora Gross, Sociology
  107. Hiba Hafiz, Law
  108. Laura E. Hake, Biology
  109. Lori Harrison-Kahan, English
  110. Joshua K. Hartshorne, Psychology and Neuroscience
  111. Dean Hashimoto, Law
  112. Dayton Haskin, English
  113. Summer Hawkins, School of Social Work
  114. Kenji Hayao, Political Science
  115. Andrea Heberlein, Psychology and Neuroscience
  116. Chris Higgins, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  117. Ingrid Michelsen Hillinger, Law
  118. Nate Hartmann, Chemistry
  119. Gene Heyman, Psychology andNeuroscience
  120. Martha Hincks, English
  121. Mary Ann Hinsdale, IHM, Theology
  122. Kathleen Hirsch, PULSE and Philosophy
  123. Meg Holly, English
  124. Anne Homza, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  125. Ben Howard, Mathematics
  126. Marjorie Howes, English
  127. Marius Huber, Mathematics
  128. Aeron Hunt, English
  129. Kristin Imre, English
  130. Xin Jin, Mathematics
  131. Mary Jo Iozzio, School of Theology and Ministry
  132. Lauri Johnson, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  133. Marilynn Johnson, History
  134. Angie Johnston, Psychology and Neuroscience
  135. Andrew Jorgenson, Sociology and Environmental Studies
  136. Alan Kafka, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  137. Gabor J. Kalman, Physics
  138. Daniel Kanstroom, Law
  139. Arielle Kaplan, English
  140. Thomas Kaplan-Maxfield, English
  141. Mark Kazarosian, Economics
  142. Sara Keary, School of Social Work
  143. Elisabeth Keller, Law
  144. Melissa M. Kelley, School of Theology and Ministry
  145. Christopher P. Kenaley, Biology
  146. Stacie Kent, History
  147. Oh Myo Kim, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  148. Jeeuhn Kim, Mathematics
  149. Kyoung-yim Kim, Women’s and Gender Studies
  150. Jonathan Kirshner, Political Science and International Studies  
  151. Peter Krause, Political Science and International Studies
  152. Seth C. Kruckenberg, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  153. Masha Krupenkin, Political Science
  154. Ali Kulez, Romance Languages and Literatures
  155. Praveen Kumar, School of Social Work
  156. Amanda Labriola, English
  157. Michele Lauriat, Art, Art History, and Film
  158. Robert S. Lehman, English
  159. Stephanie Leone, Art, Art History, and Film 
  160. Jacqueline Lerner,  Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  161. Arthur Lewbel, Economics
  162. Paul Lewis, English
  163. Tao Li, Mathematics
  164. Zhushan Mandy Li, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  165. Tony Lin, Eastern, Slavic, and German Studies
  166. Kathryn Lindsey, Mathematics
  167. Vicki Losick, Biology
  168. Kevin Lotery, Art, Art History, and Film
  169. Micah Lott, Philosophy
  170. Rebecca Lowenhaupt,  Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  171. Fang Lu, Eastern, Slavic, and German Studies
  172. Larry Ludlow,  Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  173. M. Brinton Lykes, Psychology and Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  174. Ursula Mangoubi, Eastern, Slavic, and German Studies 
  175. Gage Martin, Mathematics
  176. Paula Mathieu, English
  177. Suzanne Matson, English
  178. Zachary Matus, History
  179. Christina Matz, School of Social Work
  180. Maia McAleavey, English
  181. Marina McCoy, Philosophy 
  182. Patricia McCoy, Law
  183. Michael McDannald, Psychology and Neuroscience
  184. Cherie McGill, Philosophy
  185. C. Shawn McGuffey, African and African Diaspora Studies andSociology
  186. Sheila McIntosh, Romance Languages and Literatures
  187. Sarah McMenamin, Biology
  188. Katherine McNeill,  Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  189. Patrick McQuillan, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  190. Ken Metz, Chemistry
  191. Michelle Meyer, Biology 
  192. Robert Meyerhoff, Mathematics
  193. David Miele,  Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  194. Courtney Pina Miller, English
  195. Dorothy Miller, English
  196. Karen K. Miller, History and African and African Diaspora Studies
  197. Alan Minuskin, Law
  198. Gilda Morelli, Psychology and Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  199. Rennie Mirollo, Mathematics
  200. Rebekah Mitsein, English
  201. Sean Mitsein, English
  202. Asako Miyaki, Japanese
  203. Tobi Moektijono, Mathematics
  204. Babak Momeni, Biology
  205. Catherine Mooney, School of Theology and Ministry
  206. Franco Mormando, Romance Languages
  207. Julie Holland Mortimer, Economics
  208. Robert Motley Jr., School of Social Work
  209. Hanni Myers, Eastern, German, and Slavic Studies
  210. Stuart Nadler, English
  211. Nancy Netzer, Art, Art History, and Film
  212. Joseph Nugent, English
  213. Lynne O’Connell, Chemistry
  214. Laura O’Dwyer, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  215. Arissa Oh, History
  216. Kevin Ohi, English
  217. Heather Olins, Biology
  218. Erik Owens, Theology and International Studies
  219. Mariela Paez, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  220. Hilary Palevsky, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  221. Reena Parikh, Law
  222. Devin Pendas, History
  223. Azlin Perdomo, Romance Languages
  224. Gregory Petershack, English
  225. Stefan Peychev, History
  226. Stephen Pfohl, Sociology
  227. Deborah Piatelli, Sociology
  228. María Piñeros-Leaño, School of Social Work
  229. Zygmunt Plater, Law
  230. Christopher Polt, Classical Studies
  231. Maggi Price, School of Social Work
  232. Patrick Proctor, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  233. Lorenzo Alexander Puente, English
  234. Keaton Quinn, Mathematics
  235. Ying Ran, Physics
  236. Mark Reeder, Mathematics
  237. Teva Regule, Theology
  238. Virginia Reinburg, History
  239. Braeden Reinoso, Mathematics
  240. Frances Restuccia, English
  241. Elizabeth Rhodes, Hispanic Studies
  242. Maureen Ritchey, Psychology and Neuroscience
  243. Karen Rosen, Psychology and Neuroscience
  244. Sarah Gwyneth Ross, History
  245. Heather Rowan-Kenyon, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  246. Bonnie Rudner, English
  247. James Russell, Psychology & Neuroscience
  248. Michael Russell, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  249. Cassie Ryan, Connell School of/Woods College of Advancing Studies
  250. Matthew S. Rutledge, Economics
  251. Erika Sabbath, School of Social Work
  252. Dana Sajdi, History
  253. Franck Salameh, Eastern, Slavic, and German Studies
  254. Chandini Sankaran, Economics
  255. Tom Sapsford, Classical Studies
  256. Indrani Saran, School of Social Work
  257. Evangeline Sarda, Law
  258. Natalia Sarkisian, Sociology
  259. Robert Savage, History and Irish Studies
  260. David Scanlon, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  261. Margaret Schatkin, Theology
  262. Fabio Schiantarelli, Economics
  263. Maren Schiffer, English
  264. Kay Schlozman, Political Science
  265. Juliet Schor, Sociology
  266. Scott Seider, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  267. David Shames, Romance Languages
  268. Vera Sharunova, Economics
  269. Justin Shatraw, Art, Art History, and Film
  270. Kalpana Seshadri, English
  271. Susan Shell, Political Science
  272. Mary Sherman, Art, Art History, and Film 
  273. Natalya Shnitser, Law 
  274. Dennis Shirley, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  275. Dimitar Simeonov, Economics
  276. Scott Slotnick, Psychology and Neuroscience
  277. Jim Smith, English
  278. Marc Snapper, Chemistry
  279. Noah Snyder, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  280. Andrew Sofer, English
  281. Jean-Luc Solère, Philosophy
  282. Ruth Sondermann, German Studies
  283. Min Hyoung Song, English
  284. Eve Spangler, Sociology
  285. Mark Spiegel, Law 
  286. Marius Stan, Philosophy
  287. Robert Stanton, English
  288. Martin Summers, History and African and African Diaspora Studies
  289. Elizabeth Sutherland, Classical Studies
  290. Eileen Sweeney, Philosophy
  291. Meghan Sweeney, Theology and PULSE
  292. Richard Sweeney, Economics
  293. Laura Tanner, English
  294. Catherine Taylor, School of Social Work
  295. Samantha Teixeira, School of Social Work
  296. Mark Thatcher, Classical Studies
  297. Margaret Thomas, Eastern, Slavic, and German Studies
  298. Mary Troxell, Philosophy
  299. Mariela Dakova, Slavic Studies
  300. Usha Tummala-Narra, Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  301. Utku Ünver, Economics
  302. Conevery Bolton Valencius, History
  303. Ernesto Valiente, School of Theology and Ministry
  304. Brittney van de Water, Connell School of Nursing
  305. Maureen Van Neste, Law
  306. Matthias Waegele, Chemistry
  307. Dunwei Wang, Chemistry
  308. Mujie Wang, Mathematics
  309. Jon M. Wargo, Lynch School of Education and Human Development
  310. Eranthie Weerapana, Chemistry
  311. Debra Weisberg, Art, Art History, and Film
  312. Eric Weiskott, English
  313. James M. Weiss, Theology
  314. Lauren Wilwerding, English
  315. David Wirth, Law, PHCG
  316. Jamison Wolf, Mathematics
  317. Kevin Yeh, Mathematics
  318. Wen Yu, History
  319. Xiaoqing Yu, Eastern, Slavic, and German Studies
  320. Ilija Zeljkovic, Physics
  321. Matthew Zevenbergen, Mathematics
  322. Peter Zhang, Chemistry
  323. Huiqing Zhou, Chemistry
  324. Brian Zimmerman, English

Featured Graphic by Olivia Charbonneau/ Heights Editor

September 1, 2021
RECENT COMMENTS
FlICKR GALLERY
THEMEVAN

We are addicted to WordPress development and provide Easy to using & Shine Looking themes selling on ThemeForest.

Tel : (000) 456-7890
Email : [email protected]
Address : NO 86 XX ROAD, XCITY, XCOUNTRY.