When you wear a mask, you protect both yourself and any individual you may encounter while on campus. Masks do their job best when we all do our part and wear one.
Although vaccines are more than likely to protect TRU students from contracting COVID-19, it is yet to be determined if vaccinated individuals can carry and therefore spread the virus unknowingly to others.
Additionally, it is also possible you may find yourself sitting near or next to students who are not yet vaccinated due to TRU’s policy on vaccinations and the fact that TRU is operating at full capacity this fall. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance TRU students do their due diligence and mask up when on campus.
Although we now know that being fully vaccinated does not necessarily equate to outright immunity, at one point, health officials had hoped that being fully vaccinated might have meant getting back to “normal” and the ability to leave our masks at home.
New COVID-19 variants such as Delta have all but destroyed the possibility of “normality” in high-transmission areas (such as universities). Health officials warn we must not let our guard down, at least not yet.
Cleveland Clinic’s Infectious Disease Specialist Lyssette Cardona, MD explains that while vaccines are highly potent fully vaccinated individuals still run the risk of becoming infected, although unlikely.
Cardona stated, “fully vaccinated means that you completed a COVID-19 vaccine series as recommended for the best protection against severe complications such as hospitalizations and/or death. No vaccine offers 100 per cent protection against illness, yet it does give you a better chance to fight off the infectious consequences of being exposed to the SARS-CoV2 virus.”
While it is possible fully vaccinated individuals may still be able to transmit the virus to others including those who are fully vaccinated as well, Cardona said, “the ability to transmit COVID-19 may occur at a lower rate.” Adding that this could also be a reality for those who do not have good immune responses to vaccines.
As stated previously, masks protect both yourself and others such as the elderly, those with immune or chronic health conditions, or those with underlying health disorders. Wearing a mask when in public or in high-transmission areas could end up protecting the vulnerable who are unable to receive any one of the available vaccinations due to health complications.
Whether you feel inclined to do your part and wear a mask or not, you must at TRU when inside. Masks are required in all indoor public areas on campus, per provincial health order. It is TRU’s goal to ensure a safe, comfortable environment for everyone where faculty can teach, students can learn, and staff can work without further restrictions related to COVID-19.
Ultimately, it is the hope that we will see a reduction in COVID-19 measures overtime on campus so that we can then return to “normal” campus life. To get there, all those on campus must comply with mask mandates and other COVID procedures.
Please, do your part.