Students share diverse opinions on FAU’s COVID-19 safety procedures

University students shared their opinions on how the administration is handling COVID-19 safety procedures and what they would change about them.


Kendall Little, Managing Editor

Students have mixed opinions on the university’s COVID-19 safety procedures with some stating mask mandates should be off-limits and others expressing their disappointment in the university for not implementing more concrete protocols such as mask and vaccine mandates.

The UP randomly selected students who responded to our social media polls regarding COVID-19 and asked them for their opinions on how FAU is handling COVID-19 safety measures. Responses were edited for grammar and condensed for clarity.

Brenda Barnetche feels safe on campus because she has been vaccinated. She hopes the university urges other students to do the same. Photo courtesy of Barnetche.

Brenda Barnetche


Biology major

“I feel safe on campus, but I am vaccinated and got COVID-19 already. I believe it’s crucial for students to protect themselves and others, especially those unvaccinated because COVID can lead to hospitalizations and even death, no matter the age. 

Enforce the mask mandate and push students to get vaccinated. I believe they can do more than they are doing to protect people’s health. They should implement the mask mandate because it is the best way to stop the spread. Even vaccinated individuals are getting COVID especially with the new delta variant and the masks are crucial to stop the spread.”

Knox Johnson says that students who are afraid of COVID-19 can simply take online classes. Photo courtesy of Johnson.

Knox Johnson


Business major

“They switched ‘recommended’ to ‘expected’ in some bull crap way to make students confused [about] wearing a mask. They should be pushing the vaccine, not masks.

They should [not] implement a mask mandate. That is literally not their decision to make. Other schools in Florida are doing that and they’re about to lose funding. You can’t just go over the governor’s head. For students that are still scared there is an online option.

Push the vaccine [and] stop pushing masks.

Elizabeth Bonnette thinks the mandatory COVID-19 tests before move-in was a smart move, but doesn’t believe the university should implement a mask mandate. Photo courtesy of Bonnette.

Elizabeth Bonnette


Criminal justice major

“I think the test before move-in was a good idea and I appreciate that they are offering vaccines on campus again. I was vaccinated by FAU last year and it was an easy and quick process so I’m glad they’re doing it again.

I don’t think the university should implement a mask mandate. I believe it should be your choice. If they do implement a mask mandate, it needs to just be indoors and not outdoors. I don’t mind wearing a mask for classes, but it’s very hard to breathe outside with one on in the Florida heat. I usually choose not to wear a mask because I am vaccinated and I have PTSD and anything that covers my mouth triggers my panic. When I am required to wear one I do, but I have to be heavily drugged up on my medication. The one thing I would change is to bring back social distancing in large crowds. Not necessarily in classrooms but at events that bring in thousands of people.”

Angeline Perez didn’t know there wasn’t an on campus mask mandate until she saw the UFF-FAU protest. Photo courtesy of Perez.

Angeline Perez


Neuroscience major

“I honestly didn’t know that there wasn’t a mask mandate until I saw the protests. I feel like requiring a mask is the least FAU can do to keep students safe, especially now with the different variants and the fact that classrooms of 200+ students are going back in person.”

Alisa Gonzalez says she wishes the university would implement an indoor mask mandate. Photo courtesy of Gonzalez.

Alisa Gonzalez


Social work major

“I feel that with an increase in [the] spread of COVID-19, FAU should be prioritizing the health of the students and staff on campus. Without mask requirements, we will end up back in the same position we were before with going back online.

I would implement a mask requirement while indoors. If you are not vaccinated you should be wearing a mask at all times in my opinion.

There are a lot of people on campus and many of them are not wearing masks. I am fearful that COVID-19 will spread and people will get sick and bring that home to their families (including myself). Knowing that there are unvaccinated students on campus not wearing masks makes me feel unsafe.

I’d like to add that FAU says to protect our owl family but that is not what they are doing right now, in my opinion.”

Stephanie L. Rothenberg wants the university to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccines students are required to get to attend FAU. Photo courtesy of Rothenberg.

Stephanie L. Rothenberg, MS

Second bachelor’s

Biological sciences on pre-med track

“I am not satisfied with how FAU is handling COVID-19 safety procedures, as I do not believe there are any to be satisfied with. A recommendation, or a strong suggestion, does not replace a mandate. There is a lack of remote options, there is no mask mandate, and there is no social distancing—there are no procedures to be satisfied with.

I believe the university should implement a mask mandate. My background is actually in law, so I do understand that, prior to this morning when the FDA fully approved Pfizer’s vaccine (as opposed to emergency use approval), no party was able to be forced to get vaccinated. As such, FAU’s main and only priority during a global pandemic and local state of emergency should have been protecting the student body, as well as the faculty and staff that run the university.

It’s difficult to say what I would change about FAU’s COVID-19 safety procedures when they do not appear to have any to change. I would start by creating safety procedures that are to be followed. My first change would be to allow professors to move their fall classes to a remote platform. I would then enforce a mask mandate. And now that, as of this morning, the Pfizer vaccine has gained full FDA approval, I would add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of immunizations that all students must get in order to attend the university.

I do not feel safe on campus. It is the duty of the university to protect its students, faculty, and staff. I cannot say that FAU has taken into consideration the welfare and safety of any of the members of their owl family.

I do not trust the university at this time, which is a shame, being that I have been a part of this university since 2009. FAU is like a second home to me, but right now I don’t even feel safe walking down the Breezeway.”

Julissa Corrales, who is 22 weeks pregnant, doesn’t feel comfortable walking down the Breezeway anymore. Photo courtesy of Corrales.

Julissa Corrales


Exercise science and health major

“I am not satisfied with the way FAU is handling COVID-19 safety procedures, because of the recent spike. Having a full [schedule] makes me uncomfortable, especially since I am 22 weeks pregnant and trying to protect myself and my unborn infant.

I do feel there should be a mask mandate because scientifically it is proven that it helps minimize the transmission of the virus. Especially since I have noticed a lot of students do not know what ‘social distancing’ means.

I would like to change the amount of people allowed on campus and possibly allow more people to work from home or do online schooling.

I do not feel safe on campus, as I mentioned before. I am pregnant and walking around the Breezeway or heavily populated areas with unmasked individuals makes me feel very uncomfortable.”

Ross Tyler believes wearing a mask is a personal choice. Photo courtesy of Tyler.

Ross Tyler

First year medical student at FAU College of Medicine

“I am fully vaccinated and I wear a mask while I am inside the College of Medicine. These are personal healthcare decisions that I have made for myself and myself only. The decisions that I make for my body should not be forced or thrust upon another individual without their consent. 

Personally, I recommend wearing a mask and getting vaccinated—but recommending is not the same thing as forcing. I believe that we must honor and respect patient autonomy—a key principle in the field of medicine—and allow for the individual freedom to choose whether or not to wear a mask or to get vaccinated.”

If you have an opinion on FAU’s COVID-19 safety procedures and want to tell us, email [email protected] or DM us on Instagram, @upressonline.

Kendall Little is the Managing Editor for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet her @klittlewrites.