By Alonzo Aldaba
“It’s gonna be up to the people. You know something, we’re gonna move forward cautiously, and if someone wants to keep them on, god bless them”
That’s what Ontario Premier Doug Ford said regarding his government’s decision to roll back mask mandates for Ontario. Though the mandates are scheduled to end by Monday, March the 21st, Seneca College has decided to keep their mandates for masks and vaccinations until the end of the winter semester. In the Monday, March 15th COVID-19 update, “Seneca’s vaccination policy and safety protocols will remain in place until the end of the winter term. Masks will continue to be required to add an extra layer of protection to those on campus, who must all be fully vaccinated.” In the same section, they state, “Seneca has resumed scheduled in-person academic activities for the Winter 2022 Term. Campuses are open with some services and spaces available. Masks are mandatory in all campus locations, and physical distancing requirements are in effect.”
Seneca is not the only college doing this. As reported by CTV news, other colleges and universities will also be extending their mask mandates until the end of the current semester. Institutions such as the University of Waterloo, Western University, and Mohawk College will continue their mandates for the rest of the winter term. (https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/some-ontario-post-secondary-schools-to-keep-mask-mandates-in-place-1.5815613)
Seneca staff were asked about their thoughts on this situation. One of them, Enrollment Service Representative Dionne Morrison said, “so, I will be wearing my mask, until further notice. Well I’m gonna continue to wear the mask, until I feel comfortable, or satisfied that it is safe for me and my family”
Some students were asked as well. “I don’t feel we should be lifting the mask mandates. Too many chances of exposure, and with new variants that are more infectious then, it’s just not a risk that’s worth taking” says Adam Fernandez.
Another student, named Brandon Callender says, “I guess if we’re lifting it, then that’s a good step forward for, I guess Canadians everywhere. Personally, I’m gonna keep my mask on just to be safe”
The underlying theme is that while the mandates for masks may soon end, some will choose to continue wearing them. With the uncertainty of the mandates ending while COVID-19 is still considered a health risk, one should understand their reasons for taking extra precautions to ensure their safety.