Sonoma State University President Judy Sakaki announced in a school-wide email Wednesday, March 16 that SSU will not require masks in most indoor settings on the campuses from March 21.
On the same day Sakaki announced changing SSU mask rules, China put 54 million people on COVID-19 lockdown after seeing a spike in cases.
Elysha Ozanian, a 32-year-old history student, has done everything in her power to avoid contracting COVID-19, and now she fears her risk of exposure will increase dramatically because of this rule.
“I think we’re in a month of decline and people are getting really excited. We’ve just reduced the Omicron variant, but we can’t just pretend we’re 100% clear. There are other countries around the world that are already dealing with another variant and it seems like we just ignore it,” Ozanian said. “Asian cultures have been wearing masks when sick so as not to spread germs for decades. It’s not a new thing in the world, it’s just a new thing for Americans to worry about not making the person next to you sick. Our Americanism shows itself.
Masks will still be required in all indoor teaching environments until May 20 for all students. “Teaching settings are any classroom, laboratory, or other space that is actively used for the delivery of university-scheduled or organized academic activities where students and faculty are present,” reads the statement. E-mail.
Unvaccinated students are still required to participate in weekly COVID testing in order to access on-campus facilities, but will not be required to wear a mask in non-teaching facilities.
Individuals actively working or receiving treatment at a campus medical facility and/or clinic must always wear a mask, which means that masks will still be required inside the Student Health Center, Counseling Services, and psychology and athletic treatment facilities.
Masks will continue to be provided to anyone on campus near the Seawolf Service Center, Student Center Information Desk, and University Library Circulation Desk on the second floor.
“…divisions, departments, faculties, and staff are not permitted to require masks unless the activity warrants additional security measures and is approved by the Office of Risk and Service Management security of SSU. This applies to all offices, suites and operations and events on and off campus,” the email reads.
Students will still be required to complete the Daily Wellness Screening prior to arriving on campus or leaving their on-campus accommodation each day. This is accessible via the health portal.
Julia Gonzalez, Vice President of Strategic Communications at SSU, said, “Except in educational settings, masks are no longer required in most indoor settings at SSU, however, masks continue to be strongly recommended. Masks remain an important tool to protect those who are not yet vaccinated or who are immunocompromised against COVID-19. »
Gonzalez urged students who feel more comfortable wearing their masks indoors to continue doing so.
Gonzalez explained that easing face mask requirements does not impact SSU’s ongoing recommendations to wash hands regularly with soap and water, use hand sanitizer provided, to report all COVID-19 exposures or symptoms, even if vaccinated, get tested at the on-campus COVID-19 Testing Center if you have been exposed or have symptoms, and continue to practice social distancing whenever possible.
Students who test positive for COVID-19 may return to non-teaching or outdoor spaces on campus without a mask may do so 10 days after the onset of symptoms or the date of their first positive test. Students may be able to return sooner than 10 days if cleared by the student health center or other doctor, however, they will be required to wear a mask.
“We rely on students to honestly report symptoms during their wellness screening and not come to campus when they are sick,” Gonzalez said.
If a student in class tests positive for COVID-19, only unvaccinated students will be required to self-quarantine for at least five days. If the student tests negative after five days, they can return to campus. However, they will still need to wear a mask until 10 days have passed after their exposure. “If a classroom is significantly impacted by an exposure, the instructor has the option to move from the online modality until everyone can return to class, assuming the topic is suitable for broadcast online. line,” Gonzalez said.
“It just seems ridiculous to me that we go from ‘If you don’t have a reminder, you can’t be on campus’ to ‘Well, if you quarantine yourself for 5 days, you can always come back on campus. campus even if you are Covid positive, you just have to wear a mask. Completely different sides of the spectrum,” said Alyssa Watts, a 22-year-old early childhood development student.
Watts is more worried about falling behind than getting sick, and possibly being hospitalized or even dying. Teachers have strict attendance policies that don’t allow students the chance to get sick, so students can’t afford to miss class. All of Watts’ classes are in-person, which means every class they attend is at higher risk. “I will definitely continue to wear my mask, but it’s much less effective if I’m the only one wearing it. I understand the feeling of wanting things to go back to normal, but life will never be the same again and I would rather take measures such as wearing a mask indoors to avoid catching COVID,” Watts said. .