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AAUP calls for high grade mask distribution on campus

The Seton Hall chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is calling on the University to distribute “high grade masks” on campus to students, faculty, and staff.

The AAUP Advocacy chapter at Seton Hall said they wanted the University to provide high grade masks to the Seton Hall community on their Twitter account @shuaaup Jan 20. The announcement was made in advance to the start of Seton Hall’s return to in-person learning on January 31st citing health experts' stance that cloth masks are not as effective against the Omicron variant.

The chapter has a “consistent stance of calling for measures to keep the SHU community safe and healthy," Benjamin Goldfrank, the president of the Seton Hall AAUP chapter said.

The Health Intervention Communication Team, or HICT, encouraged community members to upgrade their masks, but did not indicate that they would be distributed on campus.

“Higher quality masks are readily available in stores and online," the Feb 3 HICT update said. "However, counterfeits are abundant, so be careful in your purchase.”

Professor Goldfrank added that the masks should have been distributed before the return to in-person classes.

"That would ensure that everyone is protected and is protecting one another, and thus would help prevent outbreaks. Many students who live off-campus, staff, and professors live in households with immunocompromised adults or children too young to be vaccinated or not yet vaccinated, and we want to protect our community's families.”

Professor Goldfrank said the Health Intervention and Communication Team told him they were in the process of obtaining high grade masks. However, he said he never received a proper update.

The University spokesperson said:

"The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is always our foremost concern. The University’s Health Intervention and Communication Team (HICT) regularly provides useful and actionable information regarding the University’s mask policies, CDC and State of New Jersey guidance on mask types and care, the availability of masks (free and for purchase) in stores and online, and where our community can access free surgical masks at various locations across all three campuses."

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