El Camino could drop mask mandate, including classroom purview, next spring semester


A view of the Math Business Allied Health Building entrance on Monday, May 16. The campus has adopted a more lax mask mandate since last fall 2021. According to Academic Senate officials, the college may adopt further changes soon. (Delfino Camacho | The Union)

Come spring semester El Camino students may return to a mask-free campus, according to Academic Senate President Darcie McClelland during the Oct. 4 Academic Senate meeting.

“The COVID TaskForce met Friday, and we are in the process of collecting feedback to make a decision about what we’re going to do with mask mandates for spring,” McClelland said.

The two options on the table are to keep mask requirements as they are now or drop them entirely and make them optional for every person in every space.

McClelland also made it clear that going back to El Camino’s previous protocols that required masks to be worn in all indoor locations will not be one of the options.

“Let me caveat this, given that conditions don’t change from how they are now, obviously, we have a big winter surge, we may need to go back to mask mandates to keep everybody safe,” McClelland said.

However, as case and transmission levels stay low around Los Angeles County, masks may no longer be required, which can also affect faculty who still make them mandatory.

“There’s discussion in the committee about dropping the ability for faculty to have purview in their classrooms to decide they want requirements,” McClelland said.

Mask and vaccine requirements have been an ongoing discussion since the beginning of the semester, with many students and faculty giving mixed views on where they stand.

Javier Diaz, a volunteer at the campus rapid testing center, said that he noticed the site is less busy than last year. He continues wearing masks as his personal choice.

“I feel secure. I respect what they [El Camino College] do,” Diaz said. “Everyone does what is okay for them, but I do it for my family’s safety.”

Gallery Management student Lila Rosito, 28, said she understands El Camino is trying to move forward but still believes they should require masks indoors.

“In terms of outdoors, it can be optional,” Rosito said. “Remember, the majority of El Camino College students come from low income who may or not afford medical insurance, let alone get a day off work.”

A survey is scheduled to be sent out to faculty on Oct. 5, where they can decide between the two options and provide feedback to be shared at the next COVID Task Force meeting.

The Board of Trustees will also discuss COVID-19 response mandates at their next meeting on Monday, Oct. 17.

Editor’s Note: Oct. 5, 2022. 7:59 pm – Headline and paragraph 7 were adjusted for clarity and accuracy.