Since Southern Utah University’s administration announced that the university will not mandate the COVID vaccine for the spring 2022 semester, many students have been concerned about the health and safety of campus.
For fall 2021, students are not required to wear masks on campus because it is neither required nor can it be legally enforced based on bill HB1007. In response to SUU ‘s inability to enforce mask recommendations, SUU Student Association pledged in their weekly meeting on Oct. 5 to wear and encourage others to wear masks. In a formal resolution, SUUSA outlined some pandemic related goals to maintain campus safety.
“As a senate, we try to be dynamic and responsive to the concerns we hear across campus,” Vice President of Academics Mitchell Zulfelt said. “After the declaration that SUU would not mandate the vaccine, a lot of students were concerned. We want to make sure we respond to these concerns quickly and effectively.”
SUUSA’s current goal is to change students’ attitudes on masks and to make sure students and staff feel safe on campus. In the resolution, SUUSA outlined that the pandemic is still a primary issue that endangers the physical and mental health of campus.
“We really want students to know that wearing a mask is not a question of morality,” Zufelt continued. “It is a practical measure to keep COVID exposure down and keep campus safe.”
SUUSA does not have the power to enforce wearing masks on campus. However, as student leaders, they hope to encourage other students to follow their example and wear masks on campus and at events.
Zufelt warned that if the university continues with its current pandemic guidelines, some professors will be incentivized to move their classes online for the spring semester. If SUU wants classes to remain in person, students may need to consider wearing masks as it is recommended by both SUU and SUUSA.
To find more information about the pandemic and the effectiveness of wearing masks visit CDC.gov.
Article by: Danielle Meuret