University COVID-19 alert level shifted to yellow


Credit: @paceuniversity on Instagram

Britni Dunn, Editor-in-Chief

On Feb. 10, the University announced that the COVID-19 alert level would be lowered from orange to yellow. With the sudden spike in cases at the end of the Fall semester due to the Omicron variant, classes were put online and all in-person events were suspended. 


The University alert levels consist of green, yellow, orange and red. Each level contains various protocols in regards to the amount of COVID-19 cases at the University and NYC at large. Under the green level, cases and transmission would be incredibly rare and the University would operate as it had before March of 2020. 


The yellow level (the level the University has now transitioned to) signifies: “Incidence of the COVID-19 remains low, but indicators show increased, or potential for, increase in transmission,” according to the University website. Students are still required to wear a mask indoors and must complete the PaceSafe App Self Assessment. Classrooms, labs, and campus facilities will now be configured for full capacity, but indoor gatherings and events will need to be 75% capacity or under. For students living on campus, guests will now be permitted in residence halls as long as they are University students. 


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Before Feb. 11, the University was under the orange COVID-19 alert level, which meant that COVID-19 cases were steadily increasing in the NYC metropolitan area and positive cases were rising on campus. The dining hall was only open for pick-up orders and all in-person events and classes were moved to virtual modalities. The orange alert was put in place in order to curb the spread of the Omicron variant. 


University senior and double major in Economics and Philosophy, Mike Greenwood, stated: “I think it’s good that Pace has changed to the yellow alert level. The social aspect of University is important as a means of networking as well as keeping all of us sane after long periods of isolation. The University’s COVID-19 policies thus far have been fairly effective and I trust they are assessing the situation accurately and responding accordingly.”


Not only are the University protocols changing, but in NYC Governor Hochul lifted the mask and vaccine mandate. This means that masks and vaccine requirements will be optional for businesses, but will still be required on public transportation, in schools, hospitals and various institutions. As varying states begin to ease COVID-19 mandates to resemble pre-pandemic life, it is a big step to no longer require the two things New Yorkers have rarely left home without. In the neighboring state New Jersey, Governor Phillip Murphy announced students and faculty will no longer have to wear masks in public schools. California Governor Gavin Newsom also announced the mask mandate will end for indoor activities for vaccinated individuals on Feb. 15. 


As the future is still uncertain in terms of COVID-19, The Pace Press remains committed to keeping students updated on what protocols are on campus and in NYC. As more people get vaccinated and positive case rates decline in the city, we hope that COVID-19 will not inhibit the University experience this semester as much as possible.