Few students are following Stanford’s ‘strong’ masking recommendation

Jan. 11, 2023, 7:53 p.m.

This January, on top of understanding syllabi and shopping around for courses, students also have a “tripledemic” to think about.

The University strongly recommended students to wear masks in indoor spaces throughout the remainder of January to protect against the “tripledemic.” On Canvas, students can see an announcement with the recommendation, and there are flyers in buildings across campus encouraging students to wear a mask. 

“Following the lifting of masking requirements in October, the University has continued to recommend masking indoors, in crowded spaces, and while traveling. This is in alignment with both CDC and County guidelines. The most recent communication that includes the same recommendation is a reminder for our Stanford community that illnesses are still circulating and we should remain vigilant,” wrote University spokesperson Luisa Rapport in a statement to The Daily.

Responses to the University’s guidelines have varied across the Stanford community.

Ishrita Pol ’26 said that in most of her classes, especially her large lecture classes, less than half of the class were wearing masks. However, she said it could be that many students have not seen the new guidelines yet. 

To reach more students and faculty about the new guidelines, Pol said she wanted to see the University send out more emails or have more flyers across campus. She also said professors should let their students know about the recommendation at the start of class. 

Flora Huang ’25 said that from what she has seen, the number of students masking depends on the type of class and the policies of individual professors.

“In some of my classes, like social dance, you’re actively required to mask since you’re doing a lot of hand holding. You’re like, interacting with a lot of other people. So then in that case, I would definitely follow a masking rule, but in other classes where you’re speaking a lot more, you might not, and that’s also up to your professor,” Huang said. 

Program in Writing and Rhetoric professor Rebecca Richardson said she encouraged her students to wear masks. 

Richardson is requiring masks in her classroom this quarter and alerted her students of the new logistics by sending a Canvas announcement and an email ahead of week 1. “All to say, this meant that all my students were masking in class in week 1 – just a handful who needed a spare mask at the start of class,” she said.

She echoed Pol’s suggestions that the University take more measures to encourage compliance with the new recommendations such as hanging new signs across campus as reminders and providing professors more masks to offer to students. 

“I’m sure I’m not the only one who would be delighted to have the University directly supply me with masks to get safely in students’ hands! It’s really difficult to understand why we have hand sanitizer in every classroom, but we have to walk across campus to find a place that supplies respirator-style masks,” Richardson said.

Judy N. Liu '26 is the Academics desk editor for News and staff writer at The Daily.

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