In an informal study conducted with 20 students from the University of La Verne, 11 out of 20 said they will still be wearing their mask amid the University’s lift of their mask mandate.
The University announced on March 4 they would be updating their mask policy to a strong recommendation for individuals to wear masks indoors rather than a requirement. Masks will still be required in certain indoor areas with higher risks for transmission, such as the Student Health Center and Testing Center.
This update comes as a result of Los Angeles County lifting its indoor mask rule as the county reached a low level of positive tests, transmission and hospitalizations.
A handful of students, like Mia Alvarez, a freshman biology major, said she preferred if all students still wore their masks for safety concerns.
“I know there’s some students that aren’t vaccinated still, either by medical exemption or religious preference,” Alvarez said. “But just in general, I feel like everyone should still wear theirs just as an extra precaution and stuff because even if you are vaccinated you can still get it.”
Brianna Alcaraz, freshman business major, said she wears her mask because she would rather just play it safe.
“Since it’s highly recommended, I feel like it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Alcaraz said. “So I know I’m vaccinated, but I don’t know how other people are.”
Sharon Davis, professor of sociology, said her students have reacted beautifully to the change in masking rules.
“My students have been wonderful, every single student wears a mask,” Davis said.
She gave students in two of her four classes the opportunity to continue wearing masks or take them off, and they opted to keep them on for the time being.
Some students prefer to not wear a mask.
“I personally don’t like wearing a mask,” said Amanda Perez, sophomore business major. “I’m OK with other people making their own decision.”
Many students said they are happy they now have a choice in the matter.
Isabel Ihmud, freshman business administration major, said the new policy gives students the ability to choose what they want and do not want.
“As long as you know personally that you’ve done everything you can, you know, getting vaccinated, getting your booster, staying safe,” Ihmud said. “And as long as you’re doing what you feel like you need to do, then it’s up to you to choose what is best for yourself and others.”
Beyond the University, controversy surrounding masks has polarized people, leading to isolation and division.
Wearing a mask, some say, makes it harder to connect with one another, and inhibits particularly nonverbal communication.
Davis said that wearing masks for almost two years has affected people due to a lack of connection from seeing a person’s whole face in social settings.
“I think it has negatively impacted our ability to communicate,” Davis said. “And if you take that along with people being more silent and more drawn into themselves, it really has allowed us to pull apart a little bit more as a society.”
Davis said she has also noticed the pandemic caused a sense of disconnection in her classes as students keep to themselves more and do not actively participate as much.
“I think people lost out on a couple years of socialization and socializing and, you know, there’s an art to carrying on a conversation,” Davis said.
Megan Mojica can be reached at email@example.com.