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Cal Poly reinstates indoor mask policy. Could the county be next?

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Posted at 6:25 PM, May 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-31 22:31:08-04

With just a couple of weeks left in the school year, Cal Poly has reinstated its indoor mask policy.

The reinstatement of indoor masking comes as somewhat of a shock to Cal Poly students who are gearing up for graduation and summer break. But it also begs the question, will others follow suit?

The campus-wide email sent out Monday night by the university's emergency operations center explained the reasoning for the step backward in COVID-19 protocol.

"While the latest numbers are not on the order of what we saw during the worst of the winter Omicron surge, they are still concerning from a health and safety standpoint," said Anthony J. Knight, Executive Director of Public Safety at Cal Poly.

The new mandate will reinstate indoor masking for all campus facilities effective Monday, May 31 through Sunday, June 12.

This comes after a surge in positive cases on campus.

Compared to the county, the numbers are a concern to campus officials.

The announcement while it caught many off guard with its timing, might not be a huge change for some like Jesus Nunez-Belica, a grad student, who has been taking the better safe than sorry approach.

"I've worn my mask prior to the mandate again so I guess it's not much of a change for me but I think it’s a good thing," Nunez-Belica said.

Others were hoping to let the virus run its course.

"I'm a big fan of herd immunity so on the one hand I'm like, if we don’t wear masks is it really that huge of a problem?" asked Kylie Wilson, a Cal Poly student.

As the university takes some of the first steps to reinstate COVID-19 mandates, the question is will San Luis Obispo County follow in its footsteps?

The short answer is no.

The Public Health Department says there's simply not enough data to support reinstating the county-wide mandate.

"We were following the science and we continue to follow the science and at that time there were more people getting tested at our community testing sites and the difference now is that there are more people testing at home," said Tom Cuddy, Public Information Officer, SLO County Public Health Department.

That being said, the county is seeing an increase in cases from those who continue to test at community sites. For peace of mind, they recommend that people mask up on their own accord.

If the county were to decide to reinstate the mask rule, it would come directly from County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein, but at this time, they have no plans to bring back masking.

Health officials continue to advise getting vaccinated if you are not, testing before gatherings, and keeping a mask on in public areas.

As for Cal Poly, with graduation around the corner, the mask mandate will not be in effect at the ceremony because it will be outdoors.