Suffolk Shifts to Mask-Optional Policy

Starting Wednesday, March 2, masks are no longer required indoors on campus grounds for all students and employees.

The Safe Smart Task Force at Suffolk County Community College recently announced a ‘mask-optional’ policy campus-wide effective March 2.

In a statement released late Tuesday afternoon, college president Dr. Edward T. Bonahue described the new policies in place outlined with the guidance of the state and local health departments.

New SCCC policies are as follows:

  • Masking will continue to be an option for all members of our community but will no longer be required.
  • The college will continue to provide masks, hand sanitizer, and the same level of cleaning services.
  • The college will continue to provide on-campus Covid testing, and regular surveillance testing will continue.
  • Students attending clinical or internship sites with more stringent masking rules must continue to comply with the site’s policies.

The college reiterates to the community that other Covid related policies procedures such as surveillance testing twice a month, vaccination and booster requirements, and health monitoring are still in effect.

In light of the new policy, Bonahue reminds the Suffolk community to be respectful towards all community members on their decisions to keep their masks on or take them off in an indoor setting. 

“If the numbers are good and the data suggests that this is something we can do, then that’s a great thing,” said Professor Howard, the academic chair of the English department. “It makes me feel like we are moving back to some kind of normal world. I hope this continues to go in a good direction.” 

  1. Student vaccination requirement: In alignment with the SUNY Student Vaccine Policy, all current students coming to campus for classes, activities or services must be vaccinated for COVID-19.
  2. Student booster requirementAs soon as they are eligible, students are required to present evidence of a COVID-19 vaccine booster during the spring 2022 semester.
  3. Surveillance testing: All college employees and on-campus students are required to participate in surveillance testing twice per month, regardless of vaccination status, in accordance with the plan developed by the Safe Start Task Force.
  4. Continue to monitor your health: Everyone is encouraged to continue following good hygiene practices, to monitor their health daily, and to stay home if they feel ill.  Faculty, staff, and students who are unvaccinated, may have or care for family members with a heightened risk for illness, are encouraged to continue to wear a mask. Again, the community is reminded to be respectful toward anyone who chooses to continue to wear a mask.

 The College will continue to monitor public health and will change its directives in response to a COVID-19 resurgence, new information, guidance, and/or direction from federal, state, or local authorities or agencies.

“I’m glad to see it happening in the sense that we are moving towards a kind of normalcy,” said Howard. “I say this as I’m wearing a mask.” 

Many Suffolk students have gone through their college careers without seeing the faces of their classmates or professors. Since this mandate was lifted and made optional as of Wed., March 2, students may now have a shift in their college experience. 

“Not wearing a mask for the first time makes it refreshing for both a return to normal and seeing faces again,” said Ben Campo, 21, of Holbrook, and psychology major. 

“It definitely feels different walking around without a mask, but we are moving forward,” said Brianna Mazzilli, 20, of Lindenhurst, and music major. “I believe if we keep our positivity rate low, we should have mandates lifted and removed.” 

As students and staff begin to adjust to these new mandates and protocols, SUNY will continue to keep the schools notified of any changes or potential cases if they arise. For now, it is up to the students and staff whether or not they will choose to continue masking indoors. 

“As my comfort increases, then I’ll take it off, but I’m glad that it’s at least an option and you have a choice to wear it.”