By Daniela Raymond
Masks have become a part of daily life. Over 2 years into the pandemic students are used to almost never seeing their peer’s full faces or not even recognizing professors outside of class because they are always masked.
It seems that these times are not changing yet at SUNY campuses. President Alexander Enyedi sent an email to the campus on Feb. 11, stating the “SUNY system is continuing, for now, its indoor masking policy for all individuals on SUNY campuses regardless of vaccination status.”
Furthermore, the email explained that the system is working on establishing a path for the campus to alter the mask requirement. The administration will be consulting with the “campus’ respective local health departments.”
With Dr. Fauci one of the nation’s leading health officials announcing Feb. 16, that the United States is moving closer to a point where “COVID-19 is no longer a constant crisis,” cities across the country are lifting mask mandates including New York, lifting its mandate Feb. 10 shortly before a statement was released by the schools’ administration regarding on campus policies.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul stated, in an interview in the New York City office.
“This fight is not over, we are not surrendering. This is not disarmament,” Hochul said. “But again, the trends are very very positive.”
Even with the good news, SUNY schools have not budged in their masking policies. The regulations have stopped many events from taking place and continue to limit spaces on campus.
While many students are disheartened by the recent news, many are grateful that the school is taking proper precautions for their safety. A survey taken of over 1,000 students by TimelyMD, a telehealth provider for universities, found that students at colleges with mask mandates were overwhelmingly supportive of the protective measures. 87% of students were in favor of mask mandates, and 85% percent were in favor of vaccine requirements.
“I’m honestly just happy to be back on campus again,” Ashley Ortega, a senior majoring in Biomedical Sciences, said. “Wearing a mask helps keep me and my friends safe and allows students to attend more events in a safe way.”
After spending a year and half worried about everyone around due to the virus, masks are the biggest light to a normal life that we can see for the future, allowing us to go back to normal life and communicate with eachother through means other than a computer screen or phone call. If students have the opportunity to protect those around them including professors by wearing masks, why not take it?
However, some students feel differently. Tired of regulations and mask mandates, they are wishing life could return to normal. Many events are still being held on campus but with a number of regulations that students are growing tired of.
Athletes have expressed concern with still having to wear masks during practices, as it can hinder their performance.
“I’m not so much upset with the continuation of mask mandates but annoyed,” Journey Myricks, a track and field athlete said. “I feel like athletes that are with their teammates every day shouldn’t have to worry about wearing masks to practice every day, especially if we’re outside.”
The college has continued mandatory on campus testing,and social distancing protocols, making mask mandates seem unnecessary with such a steady decline in the number of cases.
“We continue to follow guidance from SUNY and review masking and other health and safety policies regularly.” Heather Haskins the Executive Director of Strategic Communications and Marketing at the college said, “As any changes are made, we will continue to share them with the campus community via campus-wide emails and immediate updates to our COVID-19 Campus Updates web page.”