Art by Brian Zhou
One would think, at an openly Christian school, the famous “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” ideology found in Matthew 22:37-39 would apply to all sectors of life. But when it comes to complicity with Pepperdine’s COVID-19 policies, some community members seem to have abandoned the “love thy neighbor” creed on PCH.
Despite Pepperdine’s adherence to LA County COVID-19 guidelines — whether it be testing negative prior to returning to campus or mandating vaccinations among students and staff to contain the virus’ spread — some Waves remain ignorantly disgruntled.
With the Graphic’s strong presence on social media, particularly Instagram, the recent engagement in the comments reveals many Pepperdine students are upset with the routine procedures. On July 16, the Graphic uploaded a post to its Instagram with the headline, “#Breaking: Pepperdine mandates face coverings indoors regardless of vaccination status” — a decision that follows updates made by public health officials in LA County.
“In Los Angeles County, everyone 2 years of age and older must wear a mask in all indoor public settings, venues, gatherings, public and private businesses and at outdoor Mega Events, regardless of their vaccination status,” according to the LA County’s Department of Public Health website.
Clearly, the policies Pepperdine implemented prove to be working overwhelmingly as the vast majority of the student population is fully vaccinated. An almost entirely vaccinated population is what’s going to keep classes in person and the pandemic’s spread to a minimum.
“Over 94% of Seaver students have been vaccinated,” wrote Connie Horton, vice president of Student Affairs, in an email.
Pepperdine is navigating COVID-19 regulations and policies in consonance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the LA County Department of Health. The University is not making up its own rules in how it’s choosing to handle COVID-19, and it is certainly not doing anything out of the ordinary in comparison to other local universities. Yet, students behind the protective bubble of their screens continue to challenge the school’s compliance by exclaiming such mandates “don’t make sense” and the school is too closely following the “status quo.”
The “status quo” in question is the recommendations and guidelines set in place by certified, experienced health professionals who have devoted their lives to studying science and disease. People who lack this expertise may not understand why masks prevent transmission of the virus, but such logistics do not fall on the backs of the everyday person to understand — hence why we have health professionals.
Who are students, as average people, to question health professionals? And to question the University, which is abiding with orders set in place by these same professionals?
Most recently, Aug. 11, the Graphic uploaded an updated breaking news COVID-19 post that read, “#Breaking: COVID-19 screening testing required for all Pepperdine students, faculty and staff.”
Consequently, another round of unhappy people flooded the comments. Critical commentary included comparing Pepperdine’s COVID-19 policy to the “clown olympics [sic]” and questioning “why in-person attendance is mandatory” when testing negative prior to returning to campus is still required — as if the two are related.
What is going to make the Pepperdine community happy? No masks and the complete absence of social distancing? No testing, regardless of vaccination status? By that logic, there’s no telling if and when the pandemic will end.
Well over a year into living with the reality of the virus, people are still fighting the bare minimum of having to wear a mask. If professors can lecture in multi-hour long classes while wearing one, students can sit in the classroom — most likely silent for the majority of the class’ duration anyway — with one on as well.
Wearing a mask is not a political statement. It is an indication that a person is doing their part in slowing the virus’ spread as well as an expression of showing care and consideration for others.
Rather than mindlessly complaining about the compliance of Pepperdine’s protocols in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the LA County Department of Health, learn to accept policies for what they are so the community as a whole can get closer to the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.
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