Who Was That Masked Student?


Whitney Currie, Staff Writer

 The face mask culture clash arrived at CAC this summer. Arizona State Governor Doug Ducey signed into law Executive Order 2021-15 Protecting Student Access to Public Higher Education on June 15, 2021. Yet, public debate over the need for masks in the classroom continues. 

Dr. Sandra Rath, Professor of Communications Studies at CAC, believes masks promote student safety. When she heard that CAC would not be requiring masks in the classroom, she thought, “Why not give extra credit?” and decided to issue extra credit to students in her classroom who wear a mask. Dr. Rath said she had not received any feedback regarding this offer, “Some of my students seem apathetic.” Dr. Rath also said about half of her in-person students mask-up for class. 

Gabriel Ramirez, a CAC student, expressed his agreement. Gabriel said, “My family and I are very mask-oriented, but I feel I’ve mostly fulfilled the social responsibility by being vaccinated.” He feels Dr. Rath’s extra credit offer encourages good habits. Gabriel said he does not always wear a mask around his peers, despite public concerns about the Delta variant. 

Madison Dietrich, also a CAC student, disagrees. She said wearing a mask to class seems like, “just another level of control.” She contended face masks do not prevent the spread of COVID-19. Madison said she has already recovered from COVID-19 at the beginning of 2021, though she never tested for the disease. “It was like a bad cold, and it held on for a while,” she continued, “I haven’t recovered my sense of smell very well, but taste has come back fine.” Madison said she views masks as a political issue rather than a safety concern. 

CAC’s update on its mask policy encourages all students, employees, and visitors to wear a mask while indoors and when social distancing cannot be maintained. The update also includes a reminder that masking remains optional, per the governor’s order.