Universities drop mask mandates, students excited but concerned

Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 7:08 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) -Georgia universities appear to be back on track for a normal fall.

University System of Georgia released new guidance.

Those fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear a face-covering or social distance.

At Valdosta State University, while many are saying bye to these masks, some are still keeping them close by just in case.

Students shared with us mixed opinions, and some concerns.

VSU starts Fall term.
VSU starts Fall term.(WALB)

“It feels amazing.. walking up and down those steps to class with a mask on is tedious but as a proud blazer I did what I had to do to keep myself and my peers safe,” said Chris Robinson, senior at VSU.

Robinson has been a student pre-pandemic and during, with one semester left.

He says he plans to keep his mask as a precaution.

“It’s liberating, it really is. I think we have all waiting for this moment,” said Robert Smith, provost, and co-chair of VSU’s COVID-19 Task Force.

From normal class capacity to no more masks or social distance for those fully vaccinated.

Smith says it’s going to look like a normal fall.

“I’m ok with not having a mask on back in the fall but however since they’re not mandating people get vaccinated which is ok with me also, that there should be tracking just to keep us safe,” said Robinson.

The university says they will not track vaccinations.

They say it’s a personal responsibility.

Smith hopes students, faculty, staff will be responsible and take precautions to keep themselves healthy and those around them.

Everyone is strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.

“I was talking with a student yesterday who came in as a freshman during the pandemic and she was just sharing how she was excited to experience Valdosta State without wearing a mask, she’s fully vaccinated and she’s ready to have what really is a freshman experience.” Jalen Smith, President of VSU’s Student Government Association.

He tells us for the most part, students are excited for a normal experience once again.

While many are ready to be freed of the masks, there are still some concerns.

“I think it’s pretty lenient. I think it’s a good idea but it’s a little too lenient. I think they’re not checking your vaccinations card which I think they should. At least, the professors should at least,” said Omni Patel, a junior student.

“You don’t think that would be an invasion of privacy,” WALB asked.

“Not really, if you’re on campus anyway it’s for the safety of you and other people,” said Patel.

“I personally think it’s a good thing that they’re kind of relaxing things because we have to get back to more normal,” said Evans George, a sophomore student.

The Student Health Center continues vaccinations.

Nearly 3,000 people got their shot on campus.

VSU is offering vaccinations to students, staff and faculty.
VSU is offering vaccinations to students, staff and faculty.

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