Henry: CSU could lift mask mandate if students accept possible reversal


(Graphic illustration by Robbie Haynes | The Collegian)

Brendan Henry, Collegian Columnist

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

At the beginning of last year, COVID-19 vaccines were released with the intent that the world would soon return to normalcy — maybe after a year. A year has passed, and little has changed by means of mask mandates and restrictions, yet more and more people in Larimer County are getting vaccinated, and they have a lower infection rate than folks who are not.


With students at Colorado State University required to have both the vaccination and a booster, it should be just fine to no longer have to wear a mask on campus.

People who contract COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine can still have symptoms, but rarely are they as severe as in those who have not received the vaccination. Even with variants of the virus, such as the omicron and delta variants, the vaccine has proven to be helpful in reducing symptoms and keeping people out of the hospital.

CSU’s Pandemic Preparedness Team informed the student body through mass emails that they are waiting to lift the campus mask mandate until Larimer County transmission falls below a certain line. Masks may be mandatory for a while on campus, as the Larimer County vaccination rate (for those who received all the shots in a vaccine series) is only at 66.8%, leaving the transmission rate among unvaccinated people to impact decisions made regarding CSU.

Again, it is mandatory for students at CSU to be vaccinated and boosted unless exempt.

What about missing class if you get sick? How would the University fare? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made some changes to recommended quarantine time for those up to date on vaccinations.

Unless symptoms develop, a vaccinated person does not need to quarantine unless they test positive at least five days after exposure, and the recommended time for quarantine is five days. Finally, after those five days, those who tested positive should wear a mask for five additional days if they developed symptoms.

“For some, it may be difficult to go back to wearing masks, and that would cause huge issues on campus. … The issue lies in all of us understanding the ever-changing reality that is life amid a pandemic.”

Not bad at all compared to the old 14-day quarantine requirement, and classes have been structured to accommodate these instances.

Hospitals in Larimer County and throughout the world were ravaged by the pandemic but are finally moving to a less hectic state.

It is worth a shot to try to reach a level of normal again. There is always a chance that it does not work and the masks will need to come back, but we will never know until we try. It takes all of us, as a community, to ensure the safety of everyone around us.


There is, of course, always a chance that a variant could come about and run amuck throughout the county, causing the mask mandate’s return in the case that the University does away with it. For some, it may be difficult to go back to wearing masks, and that would cause huge issues on campus. Still, I would not be opposed to giving it a go if students agreed to go back to full-time mask-wearing if necessary. The issue lies in all of us understanding the ever-changing reality that is life amid a pandemic.

No, I am not anti-mask. You will not see me out there picketing, protesting mask mandates or threatening to cough on people. If the mask mandate is lifted and you still feel wary about COVID-19, there is nothing wrong with continuing to wear a mask.

With the CDC’s lessened quarantine suggestion and the required vaccination and booster status for students at CSU, it seems it’s time to give normalcy a try after years of COVID-19 being at the forefront of the conversation. It is time to move on, but only if we can all agree to be flexible if the mask mandates are reinstated.

Reach Brendan Henry at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @BrendanHenryRMC.