Fanshawe students react as college's mask mandate officially lifts

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: KATE OTTERBEIN
College life is looking a little bit more like pre-pandemic times now that mask mandates are lifted within the walls of Fanshawe.

June 27 was the first day students weren’t required to wear masks at Fanshawe College. The change comes a few months after the provincial government lifted masking mandates in Ontario, but the college still “strongly encourages” the use of masks following their rule change. While some students are happy about it, some are hesitant to be in the busy hallways without one.

“I think it’s more comfortable, but I’m also hesitant going outside even though I love not wearing masks,” said Fanshawe student Romeo Tam. “It’s scary because I believe maybe 80 per cent are not going to be wearing masks anymore and that means there’s more chance of spreading sickness. It might not be the virus itself, but it could be flu or cold.”

Tam said although he is comfortable wearing masks in quieter areas, he always keeps hand sanitizer and masks in his backpack for when he finds a more crowded hallway. He also washes his hands many times a day to prevent getting sick.

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Lam Dong, a fellow Fanshawe student, is in a similar position to Tam. She chooses to wear one but understands some may not be in the same position.

“The COVID cases are not stable right now,” Dong said “It can go up and down, we can’t predict it. I think it’s good for me to wear masks, but some people, who are doing heavier activities, like exercise, really need to breathe.”

Although Tam and Dong are choosing to wear their masks in some cases, students like Brittany Baah are very excited to be without masks again.

“It’s a policy that’s been in place for so long, it feels a little rebellious to remove my mask on campus,” Bahh said. “However, I’m looking forward to security not stopping me at 2 a.m. when the campus is empty for not wearing my mask. I don’t think security themselves were interested in stopping people, but masks have become a personal choice and it’s up to each individual’s comfort level. I feel like we should still have the common courtesy to wear masks with immunocompromised, healthcare spaces, and tight spaces.”

Baah said although she will be taking off her mask in areas that she feels are appropriate, she is prepared to put her mask right back on if cases start to get out of hand again.

Walking through campus on June 27, there were many students and employees not wearing masks at all. Some voiced their opinions that it was time for this rule to be done within Fanshawe’s walls because the provincial mandate has been lifted since mid-April. High-risk settings lifted the rule in early June. Other students chose to keep their masks on for their own protection.

Fanshawe said recommendations and requirements related to masks and other public safety measures will be revisited over the coming months. If need be, the college said, some measures could be introduced.