The Samford community received an email on Friday, Oct. 22 announcing updates to the COVID-19 regulations on campus. The email stated that masks are “strongly recommended in indoor public spaces” but are now only required in classrooms. Also, visitation by non-Samford students is permitted in residence halls.
This update is one that many Samford students said they have hoped for. After two resolutions regarding the indoor mask mandate have been introduced and passed in SGA Senate, students have been on high alert waiting for news of change.
“COVID remains a challenging reality that will continue to warrant our respect and attention. We likewise should recognize we are in a different place than a year ago,”Chief Strategy Officer Colin Coyne said when asked for his thoughts. “We know more; we understand the broader social, psychological, emotional and intellectual challenges better; and the availability of highly effective vaccines has dramatically changed the landscape.”
According to responses to questions asked on The Crimson Instagram account, students are still divided over this issue. The majority of those who responded, however, said they believe that the new update represents the best wishes of the students and do not think the number of COVID cases will be affected.
When students were asked if they thought the university made the right decision by revising the indoor mask rule, 76% of the 62 students who responded said “yes.” When asked if they are more worried about their health now that the rule has been changed, 32% of students answered “yes.”
When asked if he thinks the new rules will negatively affect COVID cases, Coyne said that while masking is beneficial, positivity rates are low right now.
“I do believe masking makes a difference… That’s why masking is still required in instruction spaces,” Coyne said. “So, we’ve taken a subtle approach that we believe won’t foster an increase in cases on campus assuming we continue to remain vigilant and avoid high-risk behaviors.”