Indoor mask mandate lifts May 28, some students and faculty unhappy


Stephen Howe

SRJC President Dr. Frank Chong announced March 16 that students will no longer need to wear masks indoors after May 28, unless they have an exemption.

Stephen Howe and Francisco Vargas

Mask wearing will be optional indoors at Santa Rosa Junior College as of May 28, and students, faculty and staff have mixed opinions about whether the administration made a wise choice. 

SRJC President Dr. Frank Chong said “individuals who have an exemption will still be required to wear masks when indoors on campus.”

Health sciences instructor Dr. Ezbon Jen does not agree with the decision. “We should not lift the mandate. Definitely not at the JC,” she said. “We can lift once everyone is vaccinated and has proven negative.”

Political science major Wendy Ramirez, 22, was not enthusiastic about SRJC’s lifting the mask mandate. “We do not know what precautions other students are taking outside of school,” she said. “When most, if not all, students have their booster shots, we can stop wearing masks at school.”

Marie Paws, 17, a bakery worker, concurred. “I think for everyone’s well being, we should have kept the masks on for a little bit longer. It makes me sad when customers walk into my job without a mask on,” she said. 

Molecular biology student Jackson Rose, 22, is wary. “We are so far into the pandemic that eventually we have to give masks up,” he said, but he “would be more comfortable in an environment like this with masks off, where 98% of the students are vaccinated.”

SRJC District Police Officer Erin Covaia thinks the college should lift the mask mandate. “I feel like it would bring us together,” she said. “I also feel as an employee that we need to get back on campus.” 

Steven Alexander, 21, a computer science major who works at a grocery store, doesn’t mind unmasking, provided social distancing continues. “It’s really whatever, as long as the customers don’t come in and cough in my face,” he said.