By: Alex Kraskowsky, John Salas, Rigo Barragan
For the past two years CSUSB has enforced campus-wide mask mandates to try to keep the students safe while returning to in person classes as well as trying to reduce infection rates. While it is mandatory that all students and staff must be vaccinated in order to even step foot on campus, it is still possible for anyone to be infected with the COVID-19 virus even with masks on. However for a lot of students masks seemed to become an inconvenience since everywhere else in California the mask mandates had been lifted for indoor and outdoor activities. The university issued a statement on March 7, 2022 that said the school would be lifting all mask mandates on May 22, 2022. For a lot of students this was a sort of return to normalcy. One drawback from this decision however is that now students and staff are more vulnerable to infection than ever before and the recent reports do not look too promising for the continuation of no masks on campus.
Even though the mask mandate was lifted at the end of the spring semester there are still students who attend summer school, and staff work year round on campus. So no matter what time of year it is there is always the potential for people to get sick. In the beginning of the Spring 2022 semester every staff member and student was required to wear a mask while on campus. People were still getting sick but it did not happen as frequently due to everyone taking the necessary precautions in order to reduce the risk of getting infected with the virus.
Now that everyone is maskless COVID cases are now on the rise once again. And the question that must be asked is are we being too hasty with the removal of these mask mandates? Even though there are less people currently on campus the infections per capita seem to be very significant and are actually higher than they were when everyone was masked up.
This chart represents the amount of reported infections per week at California State University San Bernardino.
It seems to be the same cycle every year. The state of California will take extra precautions in terms of more restrictions with social distancing and masking up during the Winter season, then when Spring rolls around the state starts to ease off on the restrictions. And once Summer hits there’s seemingly no restrictions to social distancing and masking up. Every year when restrictions are lifted infection rates increase.
This chart shows the infection rates per week throughout the entire state of California. Just like the
previous graph the increase in infections started in May when the state started to ease off on
mask mandates and social distancing.
In the Fall semester at CSUSB, admittance is usually at an all time high with most students fully returning to in person classes or freshmen who just started, large occupancy in classrooms and large gatherings will become more prevalent. The University’s safety measures such as using the daily health screen and the requirement for being fully vaccinated being phased out in favor to return back to normalcy, based on current trends and statistics, could make safety precautions for COVID return at CSUSB. Students returning or starting classes in the Fall semester should routinely participate in being sanitary when possible and to be more weary of your surroundings and what you touch. There has not been any announcement regarding possible future safety measures although it is important to practice one’s own safety measures and to be sanitary whenever possible to prevent contracting and to control any future resurgence of COVID outbreaks as much as possible.
This summer we are seeing the emergence of BA.5, a subvariant of Omicron that is the most infectious variant so far with a 30% surge in infection rates according to the World Health Organization; But with the steep reduction in testing initiatives, the numbers could be much higher. The BA.5 variant is not only more infectious than previous variants but also capable of evading some immune responses from previous infections and vaccinations. As health ministries and organizations around the world scramble to study and respond to the ongoing pandemic the recommendations from health organizations remain the same: Get vaccinated and additional boosters as recommended, as well as practicing good hygiene and social distancing.
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