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Colleges Are Finally Starting To Realize They Can’t Test, Mask Students Forever

Colleges and universities are beginning to roll back COVID-19 measures, with some going so far as to eliminate or significantly reduce vaccine requirements, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Administrators are beginning to view the virus as endemic, as vaccinations become more accessible and hospitalization rates for college-aged adults remain low, according to The Wall Street Journal. While some schools are only making minor changes to masking policy, others are making sweeping changes to testing and vaccination requirements.

The changes are coming as students prepare for the fall term, with schools like the College of Charleston in South Carolina no longer requiring a negative COVID-19 test to attend classes, according to the WSJ. The college will be providing masks and at-home tests for interested students, but expects students to make their own choices regarding their health.

“You have to make the best decisions for yourself,” Alicia Caudill, executive vice president for student affairs at Charleston, told the WSJ.

“It really comes down to a change in mind-set,” Ken Henderson, co-chair of Northeastern University’s disbanded COVID-19 management operations, told the WSJ. “We’ve pivoted significantly to more living with the virus.”

While Northeastern still has a vaccine and booster mandate, it has eliminated its mask mandate entirely, according to the WSJ. This move is still not universal, as colleges such as Georgetown University still require masking in classrooms, teaching labs and transportation services.

Some schools had already abandoned vaccine requirements due to legal pressure, like public universities in Virginia, after the state attorney general released a non-binding opinion in February that public universities could not require a COVID-19 vaccine unless the legislature updated vaccine requirements, according to CNN. Others, like the San Joaquin Delta College, in California, removed the mandates in order to maximize the amount of in-person services, the WSJ reported.

Asymptomatic surveillance testing, the regular testing of those with no symptoms, is no longer standard practice for schools like Northeastern and the Georgia Institute of Technology, the WSJ reports. Georgia Tech will instead use wastewater surveillance to detect significant outbreaks.

A. David Paltiel, professor of public health at Yale, told the WSJ schools that still mandated testing were “sounding like the generals who are always getting ready to fight the previous war.”

Northeastern, Georgetown, Charleston, Georgia Tech and San Joaquin Delta College did not immediately respond to Daily Caller News Foundation requests for comment.

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