Student Government Association President Martin Barnard gave insight on COVID-19 protocol talks amongst those present at Faculty Senate meetings.
As ongoing debates about COVID-19 protocol options continue to leave students, staff, and faculty confused, Faculty Senate meetings have made some progress in weighing approaches.
Student Government Association President Martin Barnard suggested that things have been a bit complicated due to the protocol changing over time.
“Originally, if you think back, it was just everybody was asked to stay off campus,” Barnard said. “And then it was briefly, I think in April or maybe early summer, take your mask off. We can all come back and we’re social distancing and then the Delta variant happened. And now we’re here with the vaccine question.”
With a very diverse student body in both background and opinion, there seems to be a split in how the question of a vaccine mandate may be accepted or denied.
Barnard continued in his informative statements about why things haven’t been clear-cut by adding that the administration is mainly working on research, and that takes time.
“They’re trying to get data on which student populations would be most against a mandate so that they can make a more informed decision,” Barnard said.
One main point Barnard highlighted was thoughtfulness regarding international students or any other people who may not get vaccinated for many medical, religious, or cultural reasons.
“We want to have an accurate representation of our students, so we’re going to work on a strategic survey,” Barnard said. “We’re going to sample different students from the different colleges, start asking them just some targeted questions without pressuring them and see where they stand so that we can support the best decision for the community.”
As for the near future, Barnard explained that there are three possible approaches that are currently being considered. The option that holds the most weight, of course, would be the vaccine mandate.
“After a bunch of research, after enough push with this peer-to-peer campaign and all the signs on the floors, you would say, okay, enough people have been swayed to go get it,” Barnard said.
However, the possibility of student pushback would be reason for this not being the chosen option.
“You don’t want there to be loopholes,” Barnard stated. “So you don’t want students to say ‘”hey, I got this note from my doctor and I’m not going to get the vaccine […] Or maybe even the vaccine is just something you don’t trust. They might have their own story. And we don’t want them to have to again decide between cultural beliefs and going to school.”
As for whatever may be ahead for CSU students in these harsh moments of the COVID-19 pandemic, cases can be made for or against a campus mandate.
“It’s just a matter of there being a total mandate, a mandate with exemptions or no mandate at all,” Barnard said. “We could just continue what we’re currently doing, keep pushing everybody to go get a vaccine, using incentives and peer-to-peer, without going the route of mandate with exemptions so that you just eliminate the loophole together. Those are the three possible things that are coming up.”
Whether a vaccine mandate with loopholes, without loopholes, or continuing the current protocol will be the effort taken is to be decided.
The CSU campus community can find more information about COVID-19 on the university COVID-19 information page.