Outbreaks push some universities to reinstate masks

A small number of United States colleges and universities are reinstating mask policies, citing coronavirus outbreaks on campus. Their regulation changes come as a highly transmissible Omicron subvariant, known as BA.2, has become the dominant version among new US cases, which are ticking up, writes Giulia Heyward for The New York Times.

As of Sunday, there was an average of more than 31,000 new cases across the country, according to a New York Times database, a 3% increase over the last two weeks. New York City and Washington, DC, have seen sharper increases, though the average number of cases remains a fraction of each city’s peak. Several prominent officials and some Broadway stars have recently tested positive.

Amid the winter surge driven by another form of Omicron, some universities shifted to enacting school policies aimed at living with the virus, such as quarantining and social distancing when outbreaks occur, rather than cancelling instruction altogether. As new cases decreased, some colleges and universities further loosened precautions, such as widespread surveillance testing programmes, despite criticism from public health experts. But now, while some universities, such as Harvard, are letting professors decide what protocol to follow in the classroom, others are imposing new mask rules.
Full report on The New York Times site