Following President Armstrong's Feb. 18 announcement that masks are no longer required indoors in certain parts of campus, students sit in the Kennedy Library without masks on. Emilie Johnson | Mustang News

After a year and a half online and two quarters of masks required in classrooms, Cal Poly removed their masking requirement for spring quarter, making it optional in the classroom and other university facilities like the Recreation Center or Kennedy Library.

After a week without the requirement, some Cal Poly students are adapting while others decide to continue wearing masks.

“I feel like the pandemic is still going on. If you look in other countries, the number are still going back up, so it’s kind of scary and there’s always variants,” construction management junior Gerardo Luna said, who has chosen to continue wearing his mask on campus.

Though it has only been a week since Cal Poly officially lifted its mandate, Luna already feels a shift in his fellow classmates’ views on wearing masks.

“I feel like everyone kind of looks at you like you’re a weirdo for having your mask on when it used to be like the other way around,” he said.

Luna also said he thinks Cal Poly’s reasoning had less to do with health concerns and was more based on the preferences of students and faculty.

“I think them lifting the mask mandate was more about pleasing those who are anti-mask and what not,” he said.

Construction management junior Adam Walsh, on the other hand, said he feels it’s safe to go back to how things were pre-COVID.

“I don’t really think it’s super necessary right now,” Walsh said. “I just don’t think COVID is as rampant as it has been, and I think we’re at a pretty safe place with vaccination statuses.”

Other students, like animal science junior Lauren Friedman, feel like it depends on individual classroom environments.

“I waver between classes,” Friedman said. “Some of my classes are larger lecture halls, and I definitely do wear my mask in there, but when there are smaller classrooms or maybe more well-ventilated classrooms –– like say, the teacher keeps the door open –– I will take off my mask.”

Friedman also said that many of her teachers are enjoying the mask-less classrooms because it helps them build stronger connections with students.

“A lot of my teachers are saying that it’s so good to take the mask off and finally see [students’] faces, which I totally understand,” she said. “It’s easier to connect. It’s easier to understand teachers too.”

More information on Cal Poly’s COVID precautions is available at coronavirus.calpoly.edu.

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