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Background: Current medical students’ training has been impacted by COVID-19. For example, personal protective equipment policies in the healthcare setting have changed drastically. Many studies have documented the efficacy/effectiveness of masks in this context, however little research has explored provider attitudes and opinions about current and continued mask utilization. This study aims to explore medical students’ opinions about the future utilization of mask.

Methods: Approximately 300 medical students from accredited U.S. Allopathic and Osteopathic medical schools were invited to participate in a REDCap survey that included freelisting and Likert scale questions. Data collection began in January-2022.

Results: To date, 211 surveys were completed. Approximately 99% (208 out of 211) of respondents currently use masks during patient care, some 65% (135 out of 208) stated that they would continue to do so in the absence of a mandate. Approximately 47% (98 out of 208) of respondents agreed that healthcare workers should be required to wear a mask in the future. Additionally, 45% (93 out of 208) of respondents agree that patients should be required to wear masks in the clinical setting. Analysis of free-listing responses revealed that respondents feel the mask mandate was “annoying” and “uncomfortable”, but important to “safety”.

Conclusion: Future providers in our study are not in agreement about future mask use or related mandates. Healthcare systems need to understand and address their beliefs as mandates or recommendations are planned. Data collection and analysis are ongoing— regional difference in responses will be explored, and follow-up interviews will be conducted with a sub-sample of respondents.