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Canalside Chronicles

A second chance
May 7, 2024

A return to “normal”

SUNY Brockport students and staff are adapting to a return to pre-pandemic life. Since the college lifted the mask mandate, students and staff have been learning to live without masks. 


The Union after ending of mask mandate
(Photo: Ajay Cybulski)

On March 2, Governor Kathy Hochul revealed she would end the mask mandates in public schools and universities. According to SUNY, colleges can choose whether to keep the mask mandate or not with input from their local health department and their college community. 

Professors on campus still can require masks in their classroom. According to Brockport, students who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks except when: 

  • A campus-wide mask mandate is in place 
  • In an instructional setting when required by the instructor  
  • In an indoor setting with 5,000 or more individuals  

Associate Professor of the Sports Management Department Peter Hager says that he was caught off guard by the timing of the mask mandate ending.   

“I guess I was surprised about the mask mandate being lifted. This was because of the timing.  I thought that it would be lifted after spring break and not before,” Hager said.  

Due to the timing, Hager still requires masks in his classroom. 

“I just want to keep people safe and healthy,” Hager said. “I don’t want students having to deal with getting ill during mid-term week. This would be an issue for students because then they would need to be tested and might have to quarantine. I also know that spring break is coming up, and I know students are traveling. I want to keep my classroom safe,” Hager said.   

Hager says if things change, he’ll reconsider. 

“I will reassess my decision after April 1 with where we are at in Monroe County and on campus. If we don’t see a COVID spike on campus, I will give my students the option. I will still wear one, though,” Hager said.  

SUNY Brockport Professor Robert Schneider is taking a different approach.  Schneider is not requiring masks in his classroom. 

“No, of course not. However, I let everyone know that I support all who choose to wear a mask,” Schneider said.  

Schneider was glad that the mandate ended and believes it should have ended a long time ago. 

“It was long overdue. There never should have been a mandate. Everyone should be free to wear or not wear a mask. If a mask is effective, those wearing a mask are protected. If others choose to presumably assume the COVID risk, they should be free to make that choice,” Schneider said. 

Schneider also says he feels the mask mandate ending has made him feel better when teaching in his classroom. 

“I feel more comfortable and safer now that all of us are free to make our own choices based on our own assumption of risk calculations,” Schneider said.   

SERC after mask mandate lifted
(Photo: Ajay Cybulski)

SUNY Brockport junior Max Wilson is relieved that the mask mandate has ended.  

“I am happy that I get to see everyone’s faces in the classroom. All my professors aren’t requiring masks anymore, so it gives me a sense of normalcy on campus I haven’t felt since my freshman year. Like everyone else, going through the COVID pandemic has been stressful,” Wilson said.  

SUNY Brockport senior Jarrod Ludwig is still confused about the mask mandate.  

“My initial thought was that the campus would go back to normal like it was freshman year. I must wear masks in a few classes still, but at the gym and other classes I don’t. This confuses me because I can be in the gym and with my friends and not have to wear a mask. The rules need to be uniform and logical,” Ludwig said. 

As students and professors look forward to the fall semester, masks will continue to be an option for people who choose to wear one. Hopefully, COVID numbers continue to decrease so the Brockport community can continue to return to normal.  

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