Mask mandate extended once again, SDSU students have mixed reactions

Potential cases of COVID-19 from Labor Day weekend cause university to delay lifting mask restrictions

Students+walking+across+campus+midday.

Jayden Pagsolingan

Students walking across campus midday.

by Daesha Gear, Contributor

The office of San Diego State President Adela de la Torre issued a campus-wide email announcing the decision to continue using facial coverings in instructional settings through Oct. 7, for an “extended and expected final time.”

“Each of us has a personal responsibility to help stop the spread of any illness, including COVID-19, and every member of our campus community is encouraged to practice good hygiene and cleanliness,” the email noted.

The continuation of the mask policy reassured Adam Robinson, a history graduate, who wishes for masks to remain mandated for in-person courses to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“I think (mask policy) is fine,” Robinson said. “(The mask policy) is to protect everyone, and there’s up to 200 kids per classroom. I think masks are good for protecting everyone’s safety in classrooms, and if anyone is compromised with existing health conditions.”

Other students, though, are reacting differently to the mask policy and wish for it to be removed.

Jhunard Farin, a third-year accounting major, was looking forward to this semester without the implementation of a mask mandate.

“I think it doesn’t make sense; I don’t like it,” Farin said. “I hate bringing the masks to class, especially when it’s hot right now.”

The email referenced a newly updated booster shot called Bivalent, which has been authorized for both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

Bivalent vaccination shots arrived in a limited supply for San Diego County, which has experienced an increasing number of Omicron cases, according to the email.

President de la Torre and her committee hope the extension of the mask policy will contain potential COVID-19 cases from Labor Day. 

This decision makes, Katrina Salazar, a senior microbiology major, optimistic about keeping the campus free from COVID-19 and other viruses.

“There’s still people getting COVID-19, and I heard there’s other stuff on campus, like E. coli,” Salazar said. “But I think to keep people safe is what needs to be done.”

According to the campus-wide email, the continuation of the mask policy will give more time for individuals to receive their booster shot.

San Diego County deputy public health officer, Dr. Cameron Kaiser, who is mentioned in the email, reassures the benefits of receiving the Bivalent booster shots. 

“These new boosters are safe and effective at protecting people against the Omicron variants, which are currently causing the majority of new infections in our region,” Kaiser said.

From June 5 to Aug. 27, San Diego County reported 5,622 confirmed cases, 23 hospitalizations and one death, all resulting from Omicron and its variants.

SDSU is experiencing a decline in reported COVID-19 cases. However, the university will continue monitoring COVID health-related issues on campus, and if there is a decline in cases, mask restrictions will be discontinued on Oct. 7.

The facial covering policy is met with the same requirements as the Aug. 15 guidelines for students, faculty and staff members, which requires facial coverings for indoor and outdoor instructional settings.

Instructional faculty, teaching assistants and interpreters are still able to remove their masks during lectures if they are fully up-to-date with their vaccination records and if students are also masked in the classroom.