A new survey has found that US college students are happier and more confident about schools that have implemented mask and vaccine mandates.
The survey was conducted on 1,200 college students in August and September by researchers at Northwestern, Harvard, Northeastern, and Rutgers universities.
The study revealed that four out of five (80 percent) students felt relieved knowing their school had a pandemic policy compared to the 20 percent attending universities without such a requirement. Students’ opinions varied by race, political affiliation, the type of university they attended, and vaccine status.
According to the survey, private school students were more positive about their school’s COVID policy as opposed to those attending a public school. Around 60 percent approved of their university’s handling of the pandemic.
Vaccine mandates are also a hit among students of color and Asian Americans, the study showed, with over 60 percent of these students favoring institutional COVID policies.
“We looked at college students as a group, given they have been eligible for the vaccine for some time,” Northwestern scientist James Druckman said, “but they also tend to be a fairly averse population and are living under a wide range of circumstances.”
The survey comes on the heels of universities announcing mask and vaccination mandates to safely reopen campuses for in-person classes. Such mandates, however, have drawn mixed reactions from the student community, with over 40 percent of unvaccinated students disapproving of their university’s COVID vaccination requirements.
The study also revealed that many students are unsure about their institution’s COVID policy. Roughly 45 percent of the students surveyed were not fully aware of their institution’s policies.
“This suggests schools are not doing a great job communicating their policies and ensuring they are understood,” Druckman said.
That said, researchers are confident that the findings will help shed light on the contentious and evolving vaccination policies set by campuses.