Students and faculty discuss instructors’ choice to wear or not wear masks

Graphic of teacher on the left wearing mask and teacher on the right not wearing mask.

Shalika Oza

Graphic of teacher on the left wearing mask and teacher on the right not wearing mask.

by Sara Rott, Senior Staff Writer

After a fully virtual year of classes, San Diego State returned back to in-person classes on Aug 23. COVID-19 guidelines have been updated and enforced to ensure public safety on campus this fall semester. 

According to an email sent out by the university, instructional faculty, teaching assistants and interpreters who are fully vaccinated can remove their facial coverings when teaching as long as students are masked in the classroom.

“I think there were a lot of mixed feelings from a lot of instructors and faculty, just about the mask situation being in person but everyone is making the choice that’s right for them,” Journalism and Media Studies assistant professor Alanna Peebles said. 

Some students share their observations of who wears a mask and who doesn’t in their classes.

“I have one professor who doesn’t so far,” journalism senior Maria Watson said. 

Watson said this is only because the desks are spaced six feet from each other and the professor keeps their mask off for clarity when lecturing. 

“When you’re in his bubble, he does put it on,” Watson said.

SDSU has been strictly enforcing policies and protocols. For example, at the library students must show proof of vaccination through the Healtheconnect portal before entering the building.  

“I wish it was more secure than showing a green dot on your screen,” political science second year Jayden Burney said. “Anyone can screenshot if they don’t have COVID clearance in the future but, in general, I don’t have to show an ID.”

JMS professor David Coddon said not only does he wear a mask for his own safety but also because he respects his students who have to wear one. 

“I want to show them that I take this as seriously as they do,” he added. 

Other students said how some professors in their in-person classes continue to wear masks, though they are allowed to if all the students in the classroom are wearing their masks. 

“It’s optional for them, which I understand because it’s complicated to talk with a face mask,” journalism junior Chanel Yoguez said. “I know it’s uncomfortable to wear a mask when you’re talking so much.” 

Public relations junior Katarina Josifov said it might be uncomfortable sometimes but wearing one protects others as well as yourself. 

 “You just gotta find the right mask like finding the right pair of shoes. It becomes part of daily life until everything becomes situated,” Josifov said. 

According to an email put out by the university, 94% of students on campus are fully vaccinated. 

Watson and Josifov expressed how confident, comfortable and safe they are, knowing that a good number of campus is covered.

“I would feel more safe if 100% of students were vaccinated,” Yoguez said. “I don’t feel nervous, because we as students are not here at school the whole time.” 

She added how when we go to other places, like the store or work, we don’t know the percentage of vaccinated individuals. 

Coddon also works at Point Loma Nazarene and  University of San Diego. He gave insight on how other universities in the San Diego region are handling the situation. 

USD’s mask requirements are similar to SDSU’s and the two universities mandated COVID-19 vaccinations among their students and faculty. Point Loma students and faculty are not required to be vaccinated but do require masks.