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San Jose State University rolled out a new policy regarding masks and COVID-19 virus precautionary procedures on campus. These policies entail that masks are no longer required on indoor campus facilities and lenient strategies regarding exposure and testing processes. 

This policy change was put in place November 12, 2022.  

As an SJSU student, I wanted to hear from the rest of our student body, their thoughts on this transition, and its timing. 

Using a brief survey, I proposed the following questions to a total of 150 SJSU students. 

  • Were you aware of SJSU’s new mask / COVID-19 policies enacted on Nov. 9?
    • Yes: 96.1%
    • No: 3.9%
  • How do you feel about SJSU’s new mask policy? 
    • Strongly Agree: 24.2%
    • Agree: 17%
    • Neutral: 28.8%
    • Disagree: 22.2%
    • Strongly Disagree: 7.8%
  • Do you believe the new mask policy will be beneficial or detrimental to SJSU’s community?
    • Beneficial: 48.4%
    • Detrimental: 51.6%
  • Will you continue wearing a mask on campus?
    • Yes: 47.1%
    • No: 22.2%
    • Sometimes: 30.7%

I also gave students the option to type a response explaining any of their shared opinions on these questions. 

The trend of the the survey results depicts three conclusions:

  1. There is a general 50/50 split between students who approve of our new mask policies and those who do not.  
  2. Majority of students will now continue to wear their masks or wear their masks circumstantially. 
  3. Despite their stance on the issue, everyone seems to have the same goal- to return to normalcy. 

Via the written responses (written on a volunteer basis), I gained a lot more insight into people’s thoughts, but more so into their conflicted feelings. I have seen a majority of student responses to be very neutral in nature, but also feelings of uncertainty. 

The year 2020 was followed by a lot of division and polarization. The world felt a lot of  confusion and distrust between those who had differing opinions, and we were left with no one to truly blame but a virus. 

As we slowly exit the worst parts of this pandemic, I believe self-reflection is important, and this survey has helped me do some reflection of my own. 

In hindsight, almost none of us were equipped or prepared to navigate life through a global pandemic. Unfortunately, as the issue was shifting from a healthcare crisis into a political one, it seemed people were only listening to what they wanted to hear- a prime example of confirmation bias.

It became very easy to ignore the certain aspects of reality and disregard the bigger picture. As discouraging as it was to see such large-scale division amidst the detriment of the virus, I believe we are now in a position to look back and somewhat understand it to be human nature. 

Every single person was experiencing some type of fear over these last two years, whether it be directly from the virus itself, or the impacts of quarantine and the collapse of our everyday lives. Reading responses from my fellow students has helped me in knowing that at the end of the day, everybody wants the same thing, and just has different ideas on how to get there. 

I have seen a large amount of responses affirming the importance of personal choice, and respecting people’s freedom to wear or not wear a mask on campus. Essentially, everyone will do what makes them feel comfortable, and I have personally taken comfort in knowing that the average person will respect the choices of their peers. 

COVID-19 has forced us all to be more mindful of ourselves, our health, and our hygiene. Masked or not, I hope that people’s faith in each other will be restored in knowing that we really all want the same thing. 

**For those on SJSU’s campus who have reservations and want to remain cautious as this transition begins, there is an online dashboard that tracks the virus as reported on our campus, as well as other healthcare resources and instructions available. 

Ultimately, do what makes you comfortable, wash your hands, and stay safe spartans!

Let us know how you feel about the new mask policy! @HerCampusSJSU

A college student trying to expand my writing experiences :) Major: Electrical Engineering Instagram: @deena.sada
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