Red Hawks Help CDC Improve Mask Wearing

Last spring, students at Montclair, along with several other universities, participated in a mask mitigation study directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The feedback from this study can be used to create proper messaging for the future to promote healthy behaviors,” says Stefanie LoBue, a Master of Public Health (MPH) student, and one of 13 Red Hawks who volunteered as observers for an eight-week period, collecting data at 10 sites throughout campus, with each student recording observations for an hour each week.

The goal was to log 400 observations weekly and submit that data to a CDC-managed database. The CDC shared the information back with participating universities so that the information could inform decisions in real time.

“This study was important because college campuses are prime for the transmission of COVID and it was important to understand how seriously and consistently college students were wearing masks,” says Breon Boseman-Sims ’21 MPH. “It was good to get a sense of how students were wearing masks, and if they were wearing them correctly.”

Assistant Director of Health Promotion Marie Cascarano was the study’s Principal Investigator and of the 13 student volunteer observers, nine were undergraduate students who also worked as Community Health Ambassadors supporting public health initiatives related to the University’s COVID-19 Plan.