People not wearing masks indoors sparks conversations within the Cal State LA community


Will Baker

Despite the numerous placards in the Library requiring students to wear masks, and to not bring in food, our Photo Journalist Will Baker, witnessed numerous students eating and conversing maskless.

Mia Alva, Editor in Chief

During the first few weeks of school, Cal State LA students have seen individuals not wearing masks inside buildings, even with no change to the requirement. 

Masks are required to be worn indoors at Cal State LA, according to the Healthwatch page. Faculty and staff are also required to wear masks indoors. 

Tangere Peavey, a transfer student, has seen “many people” not wearing a mask inside buildings. 

“Seeing them not wearing a mask makes me uneasy as I have asthma, and I have young kids at home and family who have health conditions that require oxygen tanks,” Peavey said. “I cannot, under any circumstances, get sick.” 

Peavey has seen individuals not wearing a mask in Salazar Hall, King Hall and the Biological Sciences building.

Jose Huitron, an industrial technology major, said that he also has seen individuals not wearing a mask. 

“People not wearing a mask inside personally does not bother me because, in California, the majority of people are vaccinated, and I think we are at the point where it should be a personal choice if someone wants to wear one,” Huitron said. 

Huitron said that, in his classes with not many students, “I take my mask off because I know more likely than not, I’ll be okay if I do not wear a mask in that setting.” 

When asked if the requirement to wear a mask inside should be changed, Huitron said he wasn’t informed about the requirement at Cal State LA. 

“My teachers have not communicated to us what the rules or protocols were regarding masks, so if they do not make a big deal about it, why should I? If there is a mask mandate, it should be for people who are unvaccinated,” Huitron said. 

The University Times (UT) generated a poll on Instagram to investigate what others have seen. 

Of the 101 students who participated in the informal poll, 88% said they have not seen people wearing a mask inside. When asked where they have seen people not wearing a mask, most said King Hall or in their classes. 

Psychology major Teresa Virgen has seen people not wear a mask inside buildings such as King Hall and feels as if Cal State LA is a different world. 

“I’m not too scared about it because if you go to Walmart, there’s a bunch of people without masks,” Virgen said. “If you go to Target, there’s a bunch of people without masks. So like any other place you go nowadays, people don’t wear masks anymore. It kind of feels like Cal State LA or like universities, in general, haven’t quite caught up there yet.” 

Individuals who are immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system) are more likely to get sick with COVID-19 or be sick for a longer period, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. They suggest people to wear a high-quality mask or respirator. 

Virgen thinks the decision of whether to wear a mask or not should be by the individual themselves. 

Virgen said outside Cal State LA, “you could actually see people’s faces and then back here, it’s kind of sad and depressing because you still can’t see your classmates’ faces.” 

Virgen did mention that she doesn’t know what happens if someone gets caught without a mask inside. 

When asked about the mask requirement at Cal State LA and if that will change, the University directed the UT to the COVID-19 protocols on the Health Watch website.

“It is up-to-date and provides answers to many frequently asked questions.”

The university said that they have reviewed and made adjustments to the protocols in the past and will continue to do so in the future. 

“The University may adjust COVID-19 protocols this semester if warranted. If there are new protocols, we will inform students, faculty and staff via email, our Health Watch website and other means.” 

If a student is not complying with the mask requirement, the Cal State LA faculty guidance page has steps to help work through the situation. 

* If a student is not wearing a mask, ask them to put one on; if they do not have one, ask them to retrieve one (or provide one yourself if you have a supply from your department or a nearby dispenser.)

* If the student refuses to comply, ask them to leave for the safety of others.

* If they do not put on their mask, you may dismiss the class for a break and call the Dean of Students (323-343-3103) for assistance or, as necessary, dismiss the class for the day. Please do not call Public Safety to manage mask noncompliance. Dean of Students staff will also be available during the evenings.

* Consult with the Dean of Students prior to the next class meeting to get assistance in working with the student.

* Every situation is different, so faculty may use these as a guide but use their best judgment.

Although masks are required inside, the health watch website states that if you remove your face masks to eat or drink indoors, physical distancing is required. 

As of August 22, there have been 18 on-campus COVID-19 cases and 16 off-campus cases, according to the COVID-19 cases dashboard