City College policy will still require masking

Indoor, outdoor mask mandates have been relaxed in most public places, but not at the San Diego Community College District


Philip Salata

San Diego City College students, faculty and staff, like those in a kickboxing class on Feb. 22, will continue to wear masks through the spring semester. Photo by Philip Salata/CityTimes Media

Susana Serrano, Multimedia Editor

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning starting at 8 a.m., Health and Exercise Science Professor LeeAnn Taylor meets with her aerobic and core conditioning class in the San Diego City College Fitness Center.

For the next 90 minutes, students in masks – who were required to be vaccinated to even enroll in the class – workout, training on their own and in a circuit. Before walking away, they have to disinfect every machine that was used.

But even as state and local mask mandates are lifted across California, Taylor’s students will still be masked, per the policy of the San Diego Community College District, which includes City College.

“I appreciate that our school really cares about the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and anyone who steps on our campus,” Taylor said.

The California Department of Public Health lifted the statewide indoor mask mandate for vaccinated individuals on Feb. 15, a move seen in other states like Washington, Oregon, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts.

Some places are still requiring people to wear masks here in California, such as public transit, indoors in K-12 schools and childcare, as well as healthcare settings, correctional facilities and homeless shelters.

But according to an email sent to students by the district, its policy won’t change. Everyone is expected to wear acceptable face coverings while indoors and outdoors on all campuses.

“While individuals who are fully vaccinated may enter many public spaces without a face covering, the requirement will be in place for all District facilities and events throughout the spring semester,” district officials wrote in a Feb. 8 update on its website.

The district’s COVID-19 student information page also says proof of vaccination is required for student services appointments.

“In-person services to students, prospective students, and the public reasonably expected to last 15 minutes or more will be conducted by appointment,” officials wrote. “ All student appointments require verification of vaccination.”

Taylor was supportive of the district’s decision to continue with the mask mandate.

“I think we’re still not out of the woods when it comes to COVID-19 and the different variants that we have,” Taylor said.

Taylor’s class had been meeting on campus since the start of the spring semester on Jan. 31.

Approximately two-thirds of face-to-face classes opted not to start remotely, even as cases attributed to the omicron variant surged.

The remaining third – approximately 90 sections, according to campus officials – have either returned since then or will be back starting as soon as today.

SDCCD’s decision to push back the beginning of in-person instruction came after a number of colleges in the area made similar decisions, including UCSD in mid-December and SDSU in early January, City Times reported in January.

City student Shenele Cook also agreed with the district’s decision to keep the masks on campus.

“I’m all for that decision with continuing to wear masks on campus and in class,” said Cook, who is a student in Taylor’s class. “Whether we are fully vaccinated or not, it’s essential for us to wear these masks in order to continue on the path with this thing going away.”

What do you think about the district mask mandate? City Times wants to hear your voice. We are looking for our community – fellow students, faculty, staff and alumni – to let us know how they feel. You can send your thoughts in writing by email at [email protected] or share them on social media, including @sdcitytimes and #cityspeaks. You can also leave us a voice recording.