To mask or not to mask, students share opinions on changing COVID-19 policy

With mask mandates changing at SDSU, students have mixed opinions about the policies.

Jessica Parga

With mask mandates changing at SDSU, students have mixed opinions about the policies.

by John Paul Cavada, Contributor

San Diego State has started to pull back facial COVID-19 policies in light of declining COVID-19 cases. As of April 4, new policy updates were released and as of March 7 masks are required in fewer spaces on campus.

Students have voiced their concerns on the facial mask policy on campus.

“I do think ultimately, people reserve the right to wear a face mask or not, but I do think that there are consequences to having the freedom to make choices like that,” Rhetoric and Writing Studies senior Summer Ycasas said.

Speech Language and Hearing Sciences senior Andrea Castillo shared her expertise on how the COVID pandemic has created barriers in communication.

“We do go into a lot of how difficult it is for the deaf community to lip-read and they lose a lot of facial expressions through not being able to see your mouth…people who have a hearing aid do mention that it is really difficult and it does kind of create a barrier,” she said. 

Students have expressed their perspectives on how the latest facial mask mandate has impacted their daily routine. 

“I would say it’s quite uncomfortable, but I know the reason why I’m doing it,” Mechanical Engineering sophomore Hayden Schmehl said.

Interdisciplinary Studies junior Hana Fernandez said the mask policies don’t bother her.

“I don’t want to catch COVID and if I carried it, I wouldn’t wanna give it to anyone else. So if that’s what it would take, then I’m not too bothered by it,” Fernandez said.

SDSU has had 546 COVID-19 cases among students on the main campus since the start of the spring semester.

“It’s not ideal because everything else has kind of been lifted. But, if the school feels that’s going to keep everyone safe, then I’ll continue to wear my mask and keep following protocol,” Integrated Marketing Communication freshman Eleanor Fonseca said.

Since the COVID pandemic has brought upon a hybrid setting, there have been various perspectives about how interaction between students or faculty have been affected.

Liberal studies elementary education sophomore Cassandra Ugarte also shares her difficulties in conversations as a result of the facial masks.

“You’re not really seeing someone’s full face and expressions and it’s really hard to keep up conversations sometimes…It’s hard to speak up when your mask is on,” she said.

Speech Language and Hearing Sciences senior Sabrina Giron shared her positive experience with the use of facial masks.

“The year of the pandemic, I didn’t get sick once. So, as things have lowered, I’ve gotten sick multiple times throughout this year,” she said.

Facial masks have proven to be a valuable tool in preventing the spread of disease. However, the effectiveness of facial masks has been weakened by incorrect use.

For instance, there have been cases of students wearing facial masks below their nose. Ycasas advocates for the proper wearing of facial masks, above the nose, which include a sufficient seal against your face. 

She adds that KN-95 masks are exceptionally effective.

Individuals who wear KN-95 masks have a 83% lower risk of testing positive for COVID, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I think that for now, the best thing we can do is just wear the face mask. I know a lot of people are being vaccinated already, but still, I think there’s still some prevention to be done,” Criminal Justice and Sociology junior Icyed Rodriguez Cazares said.

These alternatives would be face shields, social distancing, vaccines and booster shots. 

“I feel like that’s already been tried a couple of times now. That’s why we’re still in this situation. We’ve tried the no masks and social distancing, and that obviously doesn’t work. So, I feel like the masks are fine,” Marketing junior Stephanie Muñoz said.

Muñoz adds that wearing facial masks has begun to feel like second nature.

Until at least the end of the spring semester, facial coverings will be required in instructional settings, according to the SDSU’s Student Health Services.