Students disagree on new on-campus mask requirements

by Katelynn Robinson, News Editor

San Diego State announced new COVID-19 safety guidelines for students returning to campus for the Fall 2021 semester in a university-wide email on Friday, July 6. 

Students who are fully vaccinated will not be required to wear masks in non-instructional settings upon uploading proof of their vaccination in the SDSU health portal. 

All students, including those who are fully vaccinated, will be required to wear masks in instructional settings such as classrooms and the library. According to the email, vaccinated faculty may remove their face coverings while teaching if all students in the classrooms are wearing their masks. 

“For students who are fully vaccinated and would like to take advantage of this update to facial covering protocols for vaccinated individuals, you must upload a copy of your vaccination card through HealtheConnect, the university’s secure online health portal, by following these instructions,” the university email said.

A third-year sustainability major said she was very upset by several SDSU students’ responses to this announcement and their “complete disregard for human safety.” She asked to remain anonymous to avoid backlash for her opinions. 

“It is selfish honestly,” she said. “They are grown-ass adults…and they are acting like toddlers and throwing tantrums about being slightly inconvenienced by masks. It is not that hard to wear a mask.” 

She said she is concerned for older professors, students with autoimmune diseases and those who are vulnerable to COVID-19. 

She said a lot of her concern came after reading the comments under popular Instagram account @Sdsuaztecmemes after they posted about the university-wide email.

“A lot of privileged people go to SDSU I feel, and a lot of people don’t understand why it is so important to wear masks and to be vaccinated and I feel like maybe that kind of privilege is blinding people and it’s not any fault of their own probably,” she said. “It is probably how they were raised. I am trying to give people the benefit of the doubt here.”

Many students flooded the comments of @Sdsuaztecmemes stating they did not want to wear masks upon their return to campus. Third-year history major Sean Stouffer, the owner of this account said while he plans to continue to wear a mask himself, he does not think the administration should force the students to do so.

“I expected frustration, maybe not that many comments but I expected a couple,” Stouffer said. “I feel them. We have had to go this long with wearing masks and restrictions and this year was supposed to be the comeback year where everything returns to normal so I understand that.”

Some comments on his post suggested students have decided to collectively not wear masks. Stouffer said he would “love to see people try that and see what happens.” He said he expects some people to receive consequences they never would have expected.

 

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A post shared by SDSUmemes (@sdsuaztecmemes)


“On a personal note I am going to be wearing a mask,” Stouffer said. “Even without the administration telling me it is more of like I know there are certain people who would prefer if other people were wearing masks and I have no problem wearing one myself. But there are definitely people who don’t want to wear it and that is fine for them.”

Third-year computer science major Nathaniel Shalev said the decision to wear a mask or be vaccinated should be up to each individual on campus. 

“I think it should be up to all of us to determine what is best for our health,” Shalev said. “But at the same time SDSU has already required a list of vaccinations….a COVID-19 vaccine is just an extra vaccine essentially. Vaccines aside, for them to apply that standard to faculty and not to students, I just think that it doesn’t let students take their own personal comfort and health into their own hands.”

Shalev said he thinks the two principles being ignored are respecting individual autonomy and having consistent standards.

“I also find it a little strange how faculty and teaching assistants and interpreters it says may remove facial coverings when teaching as long as students are masked,” Shalev said. “So, why is it that people who are frankly older than us and have a higher risk of COVID may take their masks off but we can’t do the same. They aren’t applying standards fairly the way I see it.”

Shalev also said his opinions are his own, and he doesn’t expect others to share them. He also said he tries his best to respect other people’s opinions since everyone is on their own journey.

Additionally, both SDSU and SDSU Imperial Valley will have vending machines with at-home COVID-19 tests for no cost. 

Students who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks in indoor settings and when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance when outdoors. 

The email stated the vaccination sites at Viejas Arena and the COVID-19 testing site located at Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center have both closed. 

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