Quinnipiac University students voiced their feelings behind the new COVID-19 preventive measure of double masking and if they think it should be implemented into the university’s community to help slow the spread of the virus.
“I think double masking should be talked about more within our community due to the fact that there is clear and proven data that supports double masking,” said Matthew Michaud, a first-year nursing major. “I don’t see any cons to double masking and only see it beneficial to our community to keep us even more protected.”
A recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends wearing two masks in public settings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The idea correlates to creating a replica of the N95 mask by tightly fitting a cloth mask on top of a medical-grade mask.
“I wear one mask usually, it’s always what I have done since the pandemic started,” said Jaysa Quinlivan, a senior psychology major. “I don’t think it should be mandated but I do think we as a school should explore if this will help the prevention of spreading COVID-19 on campus.”
Although students are not mandated to wear two masks on campus, some have said that even though they have already embedded the technique into their daily routine, there is a more prominent issue for the university to focus on first.
“I wear an N95 to bio lecture because my bio professor freaked me out about the new strain (of COVID-19),” said Gabrielle Neiss, a first-year nursing major. “But I think the bigger issue is getting people to actually wear the mask when they are supposed to.”
According to the university’s COVID-19 student policies and responsibilities, all students are required to wear face coverings any time they are outside their living unit and will not be allowed in classrooms if they are not wearing one. Despite these measures, students are certain that even if the university wanted to encourage the community to wear double masks, it still wouldn’t happen.
“I would love to see double masking be mandated at Quinnipiac but unfortunately I do not see it likely to happen due to the fact that many of the students struggle to wear a single mask correctly,” Michaud said. “Having a double mask mandate would enhance our student experience because our community would be more protected and therefore stay in green and have more in-person opportunities.”
On the other hand, some students said that a double-mask mandate would be unnecessary given the present guidelines and protocols.
“Double-masking is going to scare people more and create a panic around the community,” said Kate Whitmore, a first-year nursing major. “COVID is not being spread in places where masks are worn. I believe it is not necessary and that it will discourage people from wearing a mask because it is significantly harder to breath with two masks on.”
Sausan Aljarrah, a senior health science studies major, said she thinks it would cause more problems if a mandate was placed for students in the community.
“Not only would accountability be difficult, but more research and legislation should be done before a mandate should be put in place for the entire student body,” Aljarrah said. “Yet, I do think it’s a good thing to spread the word on the new science and data behind it.”
Despite disagreeing on a double masking policy due to the success regular masks bring, some students are also emphasizing how double masking would make it more difficult for students with pre-existing health conditions to breathe.
“I recently had COVID-19, and it killed me because I’m already asthmatic,” said Gabriella Colello, a junior political science and law in society double major. “My lungs currently struggle so much, I feel like wearing two masks would add strain.”
Dr. David Hill, senior medical adviser, said that although the university is not looking to mandate double masking on campus, there is still a large emphasis on following the health and safety measures that are already set in place.
“I think the main message is if everyone can wear a mask, complete the online symptom tracker, physically distance and not get into partying or off-campus gatherings then we’ll be fine,” Hill said.
Hill said students who are interested in having a discussion about COVID-19 and double masking are encouraged to attend the panel discussion on Feb. 24, to listen to an on-going community conversation with a diverse group of experts from Quinnipiac and the State of Connecticut.