Muhlenberg is currently in the yellow phase of its masking status, meaning masks must be worn inside (except in residence halls and living spaces) but don’t need to be worn outside. Students generally seem to understand and follow this policy. However, Family Weekend is quickly approaching, and will occur Oct. 29-31 on campus.
Given the booming return of attendance at other return-to-normal campus activities such as homecoming/alumni weekend, theatre performances and other campus events, one can assume that Family Weekend will be crowded with eager family members. This means that parents, grandparents, siblings and cousins of various ages, abilities and health conditions will swarm to campus. While COVID doesn’t spread outside as easily as it does inside, there is little known about how COVID spreads in packed outdoor spaces.
In order to protect families with health conditions that might put them at risk, the Editorial Board believes masks should be required outdoors as well as indoors for the duration of the weekend. Given the current guidelines which state that visitors from off-campus are not allowed in residence halls, the masking guidelines of masks not being required in residence halls can remain in place, with just a temporary change in the outdoor masking policy. While this would be unprecedented, we believe it is an important step in protecting the family members of our community.
Given how so many people have lost so much during the course of the pandemic, it is important to offer the safest possible space for families to visit students. The slight discomfort of wearing a mask is worth it to protect our community… It’s really not that hard. Masking would allow more people to feel safe and comfortable attending and lessen the health risks of doing so.