By Liz Calvo
Now that Barry University is back to in-person learning this fall, all students are required to wear masks while attending in-person classes. While many students have been adherent to the new mask mandate, some students are not enjoying it.
Veronica Ospina, a senior marking major, said that she has seen many students in and around the residence halls not adhering to the mask mandate.
“Every day, I step out of the room, I see people in my building not using their masks and I feel uncomfortable,” she said. “I take all the precautions needed but it’s still scary because those living around me don’t seem to care about staying safe.”
According to the policy, “face covering requirements remain in place for all individuals while indoors in shared spaces at all Barry University locations.”
Additionally, those who have not been vaccinated must continue to wear a face covering in outdoor group settings, and self-quarantine after travel.
Diego Torres, a sophomore biology major, is happy with all the activity on campus this semester but believes that students should both have fun and take the mandate seriously.
“During the pandemic, living on campus was not the best experience, especially for me who was a freshman. This fall semester is looking way better, starting with most students on campus, the availability to sit down and enjoy a meal with friends on Roussell Dining Hall,” said Torres.
Matthew Cameron, the assistant dean of students, has encouraged students, faculty, and staff to follow the policies and protocols to prevent the spread of COVID, citing a progressive discipline policy as part of the enforcement.
For students, this discipline policy would include:
• Warning: a notice in writing
• Redress: an apology, oral or written
• Restitution and Fine: compensation for loss, damage, or injury
• Educational activity or project
• Community service
• Loss of privileges: e.g. restrictions from specified areas of campus or events
• Behavioral Agreement: a set of appropriate actions imposed to provide an education experience and conduct guidelines
• Housing Probation: a written reprimand of student’s behavior
• Housing Termination
• University Probation: a written reprimand of student’s behavior
• Parental probation: parents notified
• University suspension
• Revocation of Admission and/or Degree: may be revoked for fraud, misrepresentation, or other violations
• Withholding Degree: university may withhold awarding a degree until the completion of the process set forth in student code of conduct
“I sincerely do not find the policy to be effective in making students use their masks. Most of the campus services are separate from each other, and most students walk around campus without their masks,” said Torres.
For faculty and staff , this discipline policy would include:
• Oral Warning: supervisors must discuss how employees can prevent disciplinary problems in the future
• Written Warning: supervisor must complete disciplinary action form that includes extent of violation, university rules and procedures, and consequences
• Suspension: supervisor may suspend an employee for a specified period for disciplinary purposes
• Demotion: Supervisor must administer the demotion utilizing the written warning policy.
“I understand that Barry has put measures in place and signs to remind students to use their masks, but such rules are not being enforced,” said Ospina.
Between Sept. 5 to Oct. 15, there were 14 new positive cases, making it 172 total cases since the start of the fall semester on Aug. 15.
As of Oct. 10, there are five resident students in quarantine and seven resident students in isolation to limit in-person contact with others and prevent spread, whether symptomatic or not.
Eileen Hineline, the director of Student Health Services, said that the Barry healthcare taskforce works in partnership with the academic, student life and workforce planning taskforces to adhere to mask-wearing protocol.
“Scientific evidence shows that the spread of COVID-19 is greatly reduced when individuals are wearing face coverings and, with transmission rates as they are nationwide, this is a critical part of our mitigation strategy right now at Barry,” she said.
Furthermore, while Barry University is not mandating that students, faculty or staff be vaccinated, Hineline said it is important that everyone gets the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The vaccine provides the best protection against severe illness from the virus, and we are strongly encouraging vaccination,” she said.
However, Ospina firmly disagrees with Hineline.
“Even though I’m fully vaccinated and wearing two masks every time I’m on campus, seeing it be this crowded feels unsafe and maybe even a little reckless from the university. It feels like I’m being overexposed to the virus and carrying it around me wherever I go, putting at risk those in my living circle,” she said.
What can you do?
To secure a free COVID-19 vaccine shot on campus, you may call Health Services at
305-899-3750 to book an appointment.
Additionally, students who have received the vaccine can report their immunization through the Student Health Portal and faculty and staff can report their immunization through Workday.
If a student, faculty, or staff member develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, this must be reported immediately to the university by completing a COVID-19 Initial Notification.
“Regardless of whether we're vaccinated or not, it is necessary to wear masks on campus. There are many students who act in reckless ways on the weekends, putting in danger other students who still consider the COVID a real threat,” Torres said.