QU needs to pick a side on mask mandates

Ashley Pelletier, Arts & Life Editor

Illustration by Peyton McKenzie

If you have any insecurities about the lower half of your face, I have some bad news for you.

As of March 1, Quinnipiac University students have the option to not wear masks indoors, with the exception of in classrooms and “large, university-sponsored events,” according to a university email.

Quinnipiac’s decision to remove most of the mandate follows new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that does away with masking recommendations in over 70% of the country.

Some are probably happy to get the choice – and they’re valid – but the wishy-washy nature of the new policy seems absurd to me. It doesn’t make any sense to have masks in the classroom when the second the students flood into the hallway, the masks will come off. They’re still in a large group, but that same rule won’t apply.

There should be no middle ground when it comes to masking. You either make people wear them whenever they’re indoors or you don’t. Making anti-maskers and pro-maskers both upset for different reasons just makes the Quinnipiac administration a common enemy for strongly opinionated students. The decision also makes the administration look clueless with what they are doing.

Just because the state of Connecticut and the CDC are loosening mask recommendations doesn’t mean that Quinnipiac should be listening to them.

Throughout the pandemic, the CDC has repeatedly changed its guidelines just to make people happy when they should have listened to science. It changed quarantine guidelines from 10 days to five on Dec. 27, 2021, after Delta Airlines sent a letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky asking for reconsideration of the length of quarantine.

The CDC clearly no longer sees the American people’s health as a priority. Rather, they are bending to political and corporate pressure.

Whether Quinnipiac administrators understand that or not, they are certainly taking advantage of it to an extent. They want to make the anti-mask population happy, but don’t want to upset immunocompromised and pro-mask students. Honestly, I laughed when I read the email the university sent on Feb. 28, because of how stupid its decision regarding masks was.

Personally, I will still be wearing my mask regardless of where I am on campus. While they aren’t 100% effective, I’d rather keep people’s bodily fluids away from my nose and mouth. However, I understand why some may choose to go without them. We are going into our third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am just as tired of masks as everybody else. However, we can’t just throw in the towel.

There are many people who may not even have the option to stop wearing masks. Even with the less severe omicron variant, we saw levels of hospitalization and death unlike any other wave of the pandemic, particularly from disabled and immunocompromised people.

While college students are in an age bracket where they are more likely to have milder symptoms of COVID-19, many common conditions can cause more severe symptoms, including diabetes, asthma and depression. This is not to mention many older professors and other staff at Quinnipiac who are also at high risk.

Even if college students get less severe symptoms of COVID-19, they can still develop so-called “long COVID.” A person has this if they continue having symptoms for weeks or even months after testing positive for the virus Symptoms include fatigue, headaches, insomnia and several others, all of which can be debilitating, even to young people.

Quinnipiac wants to push the responsibility of COVID spread on campus onto its students. Leaving the mitigation of the virus to young adults, many whose frontal lobes aren’t even finished developing, is a reckless and stupid choice.

This decision is ultimately a slap in the face to people who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19. However, if Quinnipiac is going to make the wrong decision for them, it should at least be wrong with its whole chest.