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Monday, April 15, 2024

Petition to end masking at Activities and Recreation Center dropped after university announced new mask requirements

A Change.org petition created by third-year Hayden Keller gained 187 signatures against indoor masking as of March 4

By KRISTIN TRENT — campus@theaggie.org


Third-year nutrition science major Hayden Keller created a petition addressed to Chancellor Gary May proposing an end to the indoor mask mandate at the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center (ARC). The petition states that mask restrictions at the popular exercise facility should be lifted because wearing masks impacts exercise performance. As of March 4, the petition, published on the website Change.org, has 187 signatures. 

Masking risks to students during exercise were emphasized over risks to contracting COVID-19 and its variants. 

“Not only does wearing a mask make it harder to inhale the amount of air needed to perform at your desired level, it is proven that surgical mask increase resistance and strain to airflow, which can pose a much more severe threat to students over contracting a virus that is once again compared to a common cold,” the petition states.

On March 3, the university announced that effective March 19, masks will no longer be required in most indoor settings on campus. Students and staff will still be required to test every 14 days while unvaccinated individuals must still be tested every four days. Some places like public transit and clinical settings will still require masks. 

Since the announcement, Keller has decided to drop the petition.

Although this decision was made weeks after Yolo County has already lifted the mandate, it is better late than never,” Keller said. “This petition’s greatest achievement wasn’t assisting with the dropping of the mask requirement, but with letting students know that they aren’t alone, and they shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for what they believe in.”

Dr. Cindy Schorzman cited a number of reputable officials that helped inform the decision to continue mask mandates through winter quarter despite California’s indoor mask mandate expiration including UC Davis Health infectious disease experts and public health officials. 

“This decision is in line with advice from the Yolo County Public Health Officer, Dr. [Aimee] Sisson, who continues to recommend masks indoors until the case rate falls into the moderate transmission range,” Schorzman said.

According to Shawn Yew, a fourth-year student, masks are a way for students to protect themselves and others as the pandemic continues.

“In my personal opinion, I think [wearing masks] is good for students,” Yew said. “Wearing a mask is a very useful method to keep away the spreading of the virus. So I would say that wearing a mask is not a big deal and it can give you […] protection against the latest virus.”

Second-year Asian American Studies student Chelsea Vang also commented on masking’s ability to protect others.

“We still have people that are suffering from this virus, and so I’m really glad we have the rules regardless of how low our cases are or even if our cases have gone to a point that people are good to go outside without a mask on,” Vang said. “I personally think it should be a requirement that all students wear a mask because wearing this mask doesn’t only mean protecting other people within the space that you’re in, but it’s also going to protect anyone you [later] interact with.”


Written by: Kristin Trent — campus@theaggie.org




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