Campus, News

CSULB students respond to indoor mask mandate being lifted

CSULB President Jane Close Conoley sent a school-wide email on Sept. 13 notifying Long Beach State students and faculty that facial coverings are no longer required indoors.

There are students who are pleased with the latest news and say it’s nice to have an option when it comes to masking up indoors.

Leah Silva, CSULB psychology major, said she likes the relaxed masking rules.

“It’s given us our freedom. I don’t want to feel forced to wear a mask, so I like it better,” Silva said.

Previously, students and faculty were required to wear facemasks in classrooms and labs, the Student Health Center, childcare centers, public transit, small offices and conference rooms. As well as when receiving one-on-one in person assistance from a school faculty member.

Geology major Jason Fizi feels he may have had something to do with the recent change in policy after he sent an email to the Associate Vice President of CSULB Jeff Klaus.

“When I came back to school, I was still kind of shocked we were still wearing masks because to me it didn’t really fit the current medical situation,” Fizi said.

“So, I was able to email the Associate Vice President of CSULB, Jeff Klaus, the COVID-19 coordinator for campus,” he continued. “After a couple of back and forth responses, the president of the university came out and changed the policy from mandatory to quote-unquote strongly recommended.”

Fizi said that through his communication with Klaus, he gets the feeling a lot of students and faculty felt the same way, and that there was a bit of censorship going on as far as those feelings being able to get expressed.

“There’s just – there’s a silent majority,” Fizi said. “There’s some kind of unspoken censorship where certain opinions aren’t really applauded here. So I think I broke through that barrier, or helped.”

Since the change in CSULB’s mask policy, Klaus says that the number of COVID-19 cases on campus has continued to go down.

“To date, since the change in policy, there has been a slight decrease in COVID cases,” Klaus said.

Klaus also says that students and faculty were appreciative that the university decided to abide by the CDC’s current mask policy but encourages anyone who feels more comfortable wearing a mask to continue to do so.

“I believe the decision was based on multiple factors like the change in CDC guidelines, students, faculty, and staff input, daily reported cases along with our overall community vaccination rate,” Klaus said. “I know the health and safety of the CSULB community have always been the guiding light for how these decisions have been made.”

According to CSULB’s official COVID-19 updates page, the campus ‘strongly recommends’ but ‘no longer requires’ the use of facemasks indoors, aside from an instance in which there has been a verified COVID-19 exposure in a classroom.

Daily COVID-19 cases and deaths have continued to go down in LA County since hitting its peak on July 20, when the seven-day average for daily cases was up to 8,608 with 19 deaths.

To start September, the seven-day average of daily COVID cases in LA County was 2,273 with 14 deaths. On Sept. 13, the seven-day average for daily COVID cases dropped down to 579 with 18 deaths.

As of Oct. 27, there were 1,187 new cases reported by LA County Department of Health.

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