Despite Long Beach State’s mandatory indoor mask policy ending in September, some students and faculty still prefer donning masks this holiday season.
Whether they are unvaccinated or have loved ones with underlying health conditions, students and faculty are masking to avoid the spike in sickness during the holiday season.
Camille Fujimoto, a CSULB environmental science major, said that she chooses to wear a mask indoors because she has family that is not vaccinated. Fujimoto said she feels she may have a weak immune system and could be prone to spreading it to her loved ones if she is not cautious.
“I think it’s just a personal thing. I feel more comfortable with my mask on, and I know that there’s still COVID-19,” Fujimoto said. “I try not to really make it a big deal around my friends, so I probably won’t say anything or wear my mask around them.”
“But if I’m at school and I’m interacting with a lot of people, then I will want to keep it on.”
Fujimoto says if it were to become a seasonal virus, she still would have to consider taking off her mask in public group settings.
“I don’t know, I still think it’s a personal thing. I think I get sick kind of easily, so I don’t want to get COVID-19 at all,” she said. “I haven’t got it yet. And my mom is unvaccinated so that makes me even more cautious because I don’t want to bring it around anyone or even catch it myself.”
Stephanie Carrillo, a CSULB child development major, said that she still wears a mask to protect her young family members who are not vaccinated.
“I think it’s because I have a little nephew who still hasn’t been vaccinated so I’m still kind of iffy about it, just because of him,” Carrillo said. “But if it was up to me, I would take it off because it’s not as much of a threat as it was before.”
Thomas Murray, a CSULB journalism major, said he chooses to wear a mask indoors for the safety of his loved ones and himself and because it helps prevent him from getting sick year-round.
“[For] one, my girlfriend’s dad’s immune system is compromised, and I fear that if he were to get COVID-19 it could potentially kill him,” Murray said. “I also feel like I might just wear [a mask] permanently because since I did start wearing a mask in 2020, I haven’t received any sort of flu or cold.”
Murray said he still chooses to wear a mask indoors because he feels people began to take on a care-free attitude after getting vaccinated.
“I think as a country, we didn’t do a great job at taking care of the virus. We pretty much just learned to live with it,” Murray said. “I feel like once people got vaccinated, they were kind of like ‘Okay, yay! We can do whatever we want again.’”
Some faculty on campus are also still choosing to wear a mask indoors as well.
Monica Montano, a CSULB community health statistics professor, said she wears a mask because she has family members that are immune compromised and because the pandemic has not officially come to an end yet.
“So just as the students say, one of the reasons I wear a mask is for my family,” Montano said. “Both my parents are very immunocompromised and so I don’t want to pass on anything to them.”
Montano said she has not gotten sick in two years and never had COVID-19.
“I also continue to wear a mask because the pandemic is still not over. What we’re doing right now is we’re moving from a pandemic phase to what’s called the endemic phase,” Montano said. “Endemic meaning that COVID-19 is here. Covid is here to stay. So now we must learn how to live life with Covid around.”
Montano said that until the World Health Organization announces that the pandemic is over, she will continue to wear a mask in public, group settings.
“There are new variants that are on their way here that are stronger than the variants that we’ve seen in the past,” said Montano.
Montano also said that she has a hard time taking people’s word when they say they’re vaccinated after people began to get ‘fake’ vaccination cards as a way of hacking the CDC’s protocols to slow the spread of COVID-19 in 2021.
“I don’t know if people are vaccinated,” she said. “You know, they say that they’re vaccinated but unfortunately there’s been cases of people who have obtained illegal vaccination cards. I want to make sure that I protect myself.”