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Cape Breton University first Atlantic university to end masking mandate


As a steady stream of students arrived for classes at Cape Breton University on Wednesday, nearly all of them were wearing masks.

However, that may not be the case this Monday when the school ends its masking mandate.

"I think I'm going to keep mine on until the end of the semester just to be safe," said CBU student Kristin Gushue. “But otherwise, it doesn't really make a difference to me."

The head of the university's faculty association said, while he too welcomes a return to normal, he's heard from staff who are concerned about ending the masking policy with in-person exams just around the corner.

"When you look at all the other Atlantic Canadian universities that are keeping the mandate until the end of the term, why are we not?" asked Calvin Howley, the president of CBU's faculty association.

"Even a small outbreak could have a significant impact in terms of students' abilities to complete the term given that the term had started late due to COVID."

Tanya Brann-Barrett is the head of CBU's "return to campus" committee. She said, since the pandemic started, the university has aligned its decisions with the direction of the Nova Scotia government.

Brann-Barrett added while on-campus masking will no longer be mandatory once restrictions end on Monday, masks will still be strongly recommended.

"We feel safe moving with (the province). That's why we're doing it right now," Brann-Barrett said. "We want people to be able to make informed choices and we will continue to have masks available throughout the campus. We will have testing available throughout the campus."

While CBU is the only Atlantic university that will be taking off the masks this month, it's not alone when it comes to post-secondary institutions.

The Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) will be doing the same at its campuses provincewide. Top Stories

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