Ryan Poon / The Highlander

After almost two years of so-called “Zoom University,” this year, UCR is allowing students to attend in-person classes. However, with this comes many new COVID regulations to keep staff and students safe. Despite 90% of the student population being vaccinated, UCR’s COVID restrictions are completely justified. 

All campus COVID precautions can be found on UCR’s Health, Wellbeing and Safety department’s website, or in the mandatory COVID training module on iLearn. With UCR’s push for mandatory student vaccination over the summer, UCR has reached its “magic number” for herd immunity and is allowing students to return to campus for classes this quarter. UCR has instituted a plethora of COVID precautions, prioritizing the health and safety of students and allowing for on-campus learning to be a possibility all year. 

Despite vaccination status, all students and faculty are required to wear masks around campus, and students are still required to receive COVID tests to prevent an outbreak on campus. Some students feel that the emphasis on COVID safety around campus is overwhelming. It is easy for students to still feel suffocated by this pandemic, and they should because the world is still amid a global pandemic. However, It is a privilege to be back on campus and returning to a sense of normalcy that we have all been hoping for since the start of the pandemic. If wearing a mask and getting occasional COVID testing will protect the student body and allow for in-person learning to continue, no one should have an issue with this. 

Despite the overall drop in recorded COVID cases due to high vaccination rates, it is still possible for vaccinated students to contract and spread COVID-19. According to the Center For Disease Control, all individuals are encouraged to wear masks despite vaccination status to stop the spread. Especially with the rise of the Delta variant, COVID precautions are more important than ever to keep us on campus. 

The COVID-19 Delta variant, according to Yale Medicine, is even more contagious and deadly than the original virus, emphasizing the health and safety of the general population. The best protection from both strains of the virus is vaccination, mask-wearing and social distancing. Enforcing these policies around campus is not only justified but necessary to prevent a breakout infection among the university community. 

It is important for the whole UCR community to do their part in stopping the spread of this deadly virus. If that means we have to wear masks while walking around campus or having to attend club meetings via Zoom, so be it. We are still amid a deadly global pandemic, a pandemic that has killed 696,000 Americans. To keep us on campus for the duration of the year, it is our university’s job to institute policies that will keep the student body healthy and safe, and it is our job as students to follow these policies. 

Following UCR’s COVID guidelines has nothing but positive effects on our lives as students. These COVID precautions are only instituted for our safety and to ensure that campus doors are open to in-person learning all year. To be opposed to the overall health and safety of the student body and faculty would be foolish. Everyone is at risk, and the more serious we take these precautions, the sooner we will be out of this pandemic and free to go back to normal.