Petition to end masking at activity and recreation center dropped after university announces new mask requirements

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A Change.org petition created by third-grader Hayden Keller has garnered 187 signatures against indoor masking as of March 4

By KRISTIN TRENT — [email protected]

Third-year nutrition science major Hayden Keller has created a petition to Chancellor Gary May proposing to end the indoor mask mandate at UC Davis Activity and Recreation Center (ARC) . The petition says restrictions on masks at the popular exercise center should be lifted because wearing masks impacts physical performance. As of March 4, the petition, posted on the Change.org website, had 187 signatures.

Masking risks for students during exercise have been highlighted over the risks of contracting COVID-19 and its variants.

“Not only does wearing a mask make it more difficult to inhale the amount of air needed to perform at the desired level, but the surgical mask has been shown to increase resistance and pressure on airflow, which which can pose a much greater threat to students who contract a virus that is once again compared to a cold,” the petition reads.

On March 3, the university announcement that as of March 19, masks will no longer be required in most indoor settings on campus. Students and staff will still need to be tested every 14 days, while unvaccinated people will still need to be tested every four days. Some places like public transportation and clinical settings will still require masks.

Since the announcement, Keller has decided to withdraw the petition.

Although this decision was made weeks after Yolo County already lifted the mandate, better late than never,” Keller said. “The greatest achievement of this petition has not been helping to remove the mask requirement, but letting students know that they are not alone and should not be afraid to stand up for this in what they believe.”

Dr. Cindy Schorzman cited a number of high-profile officials who helped inform the decision to continue mask mandates through the winter term despite California. indoor mask warrant expiration including UC Davis Health infectious disease experts and public health officials.

“This decision is consistent with the advice of Yolo County Public Health Officer Dr. [Aimee] Sisson, who continues to recommend masks indoors until the case rate falls into the moderate transmission range,” Schorzman said.

According to Shawn Yew, a fourth-year student, masks are a way for students to protect themselves and others as the pandemic continues.

“In my personal opinion, I think [wearing masks] is good for students,” Yew said. “Wearing a mask is a very useful method to prevent the spread of the virus. So I would say wearing a mask is not a big deal and it can give you […] protection against the latest virus.

Second-year Asian American Studies student Chelsea Vang also commented on the ability of masking to protect others.

“We still have people who are suffering from this virus, and so I am really happy that we have the rules, regardless of the level of our cases or even if our cases have gone to a point where people are good to go out without mask on,” Vang said. “I personally think that all students should be required to wear a mask, because wearing this mask not only means protecting other people in the space you are in, but it will also protect everyone you are in. [later] interact with.”

Written by: Kristin Trent — [email protected]

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