On Monday, Feb. 14, Crimson staff sent a survey out to Samford students to get a better understanding of students’ opinions regarding the lifting of the mask mandate on campus. Samford lifted the mask mandate on Friday, Feb. 11 in accordance with a COVID-19 Update email sent to the Samford community on Wednesday, Feb. 2. The email stated that “masking will be recommended but optional in all indoor facilities on campus.” Faculty are still allowed to require masks inside their classrooms.
These decisions, according to the Feb. 2 email, were made in response to the “favorable trends” on campus and in the surrounding community. As of Thursday, Feb. 17, there have been 12 reported positive cases of COVID-19 in the past week, according to the Samford University COVID Dashboard.
A total of 119 Samford students responded to the Crimson’s survey. Approximately 73%, or 89 students, responded that they agreed with the lifting of Samford’s mask mandate. Another 19% said that they did not think the mandate should have been lifted, and the rest of the responses said they were “not sure” of their opinion.
When asked if their professors were requiring masks in the classrooms, only one student said that all of their professors continue to require masks. Of those who responded, 57 students said “some” of their professors required them, and the remaining 61 said that none of their professors required masks.
Students were then asked if they were still wearing masks when not required to do so, and 70% said that they were not. Only 14% of students who took the survey responded that they were wearing masks when not required, and the rest said they wore them “sometimes.”
The majority of the students who responded stated that they were considerably less concerned about COVID-19 now than they were in 2020 when the pandemic first started.
The survey allowed students to also share typed responses, and many chose to do so by expressing thanks to Samford for lifting the mask mandate. Several students wrote that the mandate should have been lifted “a long time ago” and others wrote that “Everyone has the right to choose” whether to wear masks.
“People at Samford are longing to connect and have a full experience without having to be constantly talked down to about masks and such when masks were not designed for that purpose for an extended length of time. I’m glad they removed it. Let people have the option to wear their masks and make their own choices,” one student opined.
Others shared different opinions, but at least among those who responded to the survey, they seemed to be in the minority.
“I think Samford has mismanaged the pandemic from day one and this is no different. It has become increasingly clear that the administration’s priority is not student health,” one response said.
Samford leadership has promised to continue to closely monitor the pandemic and adjust protocols accordingly, as stated in the Feb. 2 email.