The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its COVID-19 guidelines two weeks ago, loosening the agency’s recommendations regarding masks for almost three-quarters of the nation’s population.
About 10% of the U.S. population now lives in an area that doesn’t require face masks to be worn when indoors, according to the official CDC website. The CDC is now saying that masks should be optional indoors for anyone who is fully vaccinated.
With these recent changes, Florida A&M University plans to continue to use the CDC as its guide, but FAMU does not plan to change its recommendations regarding masks.
Tanya Tatum, director of Student Health Services at FAMU, explained what the school is doing about the recent update to the CDC’s COVID – 19 guidelines.
“The department Is looking at the updated guidelines now,” Tatum told The Famuan. “But masking indoors is still the recommended course of action.”
Tatum said that the rumor that mask recommendations have been fully removed is not true. If you are in an area with many people, then it is still highly recommended to wear a mask. In a college town like Tallahassee, transmission of COVID-19 can easily happen.
The CDC has made it a point to focus on hospitalizations rather than the infected in order to determine when masks should be recommended. The center has created three risk levels to categorize the counties in which people should wear masks.
Risk levels are labeled low, medium or high. And these factors are determined by the number of new COVID-19 cases, the share of hospital beds and hospital admissions. The center updates the numbers every week to keep track of these numbers.
According to the CDC website, Leon County is considered to have a low community level. This means that if a person experiences symptoms, they should get tested but masks are not required. But masks are still recommended by the CDC.
Senior FAMU student Cilicia Anderson doesn’t think FAMU should follow in the CDC’s footsteps when it comes to the new update.
“I feel that it is definitely too soon to loosen restrictions because people are still getting sick,” Anderson said. “And with spring break around the corner, it can really impact the university when everyone returns.”
Tatum added that the university has never made it mandatory for students to wear masks because the governor has banned mask mandates statewide.
FAMU continues to recommend that students wear masks in public areas indoors or in places that cause them to be in close proximity with others in order to prevent virus circulation.
For more information on COVID-19, visit Student Health Services in the CASS building.