Mask Mandate Lifted At All Valencia Campuses, Students and Staff Weigh In

Jeremy Gottschalk, Editor

On April 1, Vice President of Student Affairs Joe Richardson, released a school-wide email outlining new conditions on the mask mandates imposed by Valencia College campuses. Part of the email reads:

“As of Saturday, April 2, 2022, we will move from “Masks Expected” to “Masks Welcomed” on all Valencia College campuses and locations. The signage on our campuses and locations will be changed over the weekend to reflect the change in protocol. Masks will continue to be available in our Campus Security offices and our classrooms for employees and students.”

Students were also notified that following spring term end, May 1 would see the return to “pre-pandemic conditions” as well as dissolution of the COVID-19 case management teams. Summer term will see the addition of new in-person classes. Student capacity will return to normal in the Fall 2022 term as well.

Most people wear their masks in classes. I didn’t know the mask mandate was lifted. There’s still a box of masks at professors’ desks to grab one.

— General Studies major and Dual Enrollment student Valentina Calmenares, 15, Osceola Campus


Since April 1, The New York Times reports a double in the number of Florida cases from around 1,500 reported new daily cases to over 2,800 new daily cases. Orange County statistics account for over 200, less than eight percent, of new daily state cases. Osceola County’s totals are significantly smaller. This number is manageable by the region’s hospital services.

Valencia Voice reached out to students, faculty and staff across multiple campuses to ask their views and opinions on the mask mandate being lifted. We received a wide array of responses.

Campus Adjunct Chemistry Professor Michelle De La Cruz remarks, “I don’t have a problem especially with the class sizes reduced. If the cases increased, then I would want the mask requirements implemented again.”

General Studies major Valentina Calmenares, 15, says, “Most people wear their masks in classes. I didn’t know the mask mandate was lifted. There’s still a box of masks at professors’ desks to grab one.” Graphic Design major Jayda Lowe’s, 19, explains, “I will still keep on the mask. I’m more comfortable as I have a medical condition. For the most part, my classes are small. Most people do still wear masks.”

Valencia College Assessment Specialist Danielle Danforth observes, “They shouldn’t relax too much. When we become too relaxed, that’s when things tend to creep back up. We could see a new variant. Be mindful that even if it isn’t mentioned in the media, it’s not completely away. You rarely hear about (COVID-19) and cases aren’t being reported as much.”

General Studies major Kennedy Brauner, 21, wishes the school had considered high risk family members and households. “Personally, the lifting of the mask mandates is irresponsible, not just by the state but our school legislative team. Even as the mask mandates are lifted, we should continue to wear them for those who have to go home to someone who it would harm or kill. It should be required in closed spaces. When are you able to pass something on to other people, it becomes a question of morality. Society will only progress if we work as a collective.”

 Share your thoughts here or on any of the Valencia Voice social media accounts at @ValenciaVoice.