CSU Bakersfield’s Cabinet and the Campus Preparedness Council approved a proposal by The Emergency Operations Team on Feb 28 that will stop the requirement for outdoor face masks and outdoor social distancing. Face coverings and distancing for indoors will still be mandatory until a further determination is made.
The decision was created following the news of California’s Mask Mandate coming to an end for schools on Friday, March 11.
“We will continue to monitor, seek guidance from public health, seek input also from students, faculty and staff in the coming weeks about any revisions we might consider to the indoor masks,” said President of CSUB Lynnette Zelezny.
She stated that despite the statewide announcement by the governor, universities throughout the state may have different decisions regarding mask usage and social distancing because of the regions they are located in.
“Kern County is still one of the lowest vaccinated counties not just in California but in the nation,” said Zelezny. She emphasized that information pertaining to vaccination and hospitalization rates within the county determines the next course of action for CSUB. Zelezny explained that before a decision is made concerning health issues and safety on campus there are various steps that first must be taken.
“Whatever recommendations or options we look at we have always been in constant contact with Kern County Public Health to get their support or recommendations before we really implement anything,” said CSUB’s Chief of Police and Official Emergency Operations Officer Martin Williamson.
He proceeded to say that although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recorded the county as high risk, case numbers are going down. Williamson said that the University is prioritizing the campus’s safety while also taking into consideration what the CDC and California Department of Public Health are permitting the public to do.
He said that even though it is not guaranteed there is the possibility that by the middle to the end of March, they could be closer to making a choice about indoor masks and indoor social distancing.
“I am not concerned but I believe that we should still be wearing masks even though it is not a mandate because we should protect ourselves and others,” said CSUB Student and Freshman Samantha Corona. She explained that she believes the school should also encourage students to continue wearing masks because despite improvements in cases the virus is still present.
Students can visit CSUB’s website under the section frequently asked questions for more information and updates regarding COVID-19. This includes details about vaccinations, testing, boosters, and campus protocols.