College lifts vaccine requirement, schedules end date for masks


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AACC’s requirement for everyone to wear masks inside campus buildings will expire on May 19.

Zack Buster, Associate Editor

AACC will no longer require students and employees to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine or a negative weekly COVID-19 test starting March 9.

However, AACC President Dawn Lindsay said in an email on Wednesday, anyone entering any campus building must still wear a mask through the end of this semester.

Anne Arundel County is no longer considered a high or substantial risk for COVID-19,” Lindsay said. “We continue to strongly encourage vaccinations and boosters as an added safeguard for individuals and our community.”

The announcement came a few days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overrrode its previous recommendation that everyone wear a mask indoors. The CDC on Friday said people in low-risk areas, like Anne Arundel County, do not need to wear masks.

College officials have said in the past they would base their decisions about masking and vaccination requirements on CDC guidelines. CDC on Friday recommended that “people should stay up to date with their vaccines and get tested if they’re sick.”

Some students reacted to the news with skepticism.

“I’m very skeptical about getting rid of the vaccine mandate,” first-year engineering student Sam Frederick said.  “It could result in a sharp increase of COVID cases.” 

Second-year architecture student Marcelino Ramos said the college should continue to require masks in campus buildings.

“In classroom environments people are very close to one another,” Ramos said. “Then they don’t really have the ability to find out who’s … vaccinated or unvaccinated.”

Grace Blanchfield, a first-year nursing transfer student, agreed. 

“The classes are really crowded and it’s going to make people uncomfortable,”  Blanchfield said.

Others, however, welcomed the college’s decision to lift the vaccine and mask requirements.

“[The] vaccine requirement should … be optional,” first-year pre-med student Johnathan Dang said.  “I honestly feel that we should have more freedom.”

In an informal Campus Current poll of 40 students, 29 said they want masks to be optional.

Dustin Tripp, an information technology networking and security student, said he wants to get back to normal.

“I’m kind of ready for it to stop,” Tripp said. “If everyone is vaccinated and … healthy then we should probably get back to regular if we can.”

Reporter Maggie Brown contributed to this story.