Student COVID19 Survey — UCSD Spring Quarter

74% of students support vaccine passports for in-person classes this Fall & Spring 2022

Masks & Social Interaction

Most students (65%) indicated that masks hinder communication due to the difficulty in reading others’ facial expressions. A quarter of respondents indicated that masks have messed up their makeup (99%+ of these respondents were women based on first name).

Silver Lining: This may have forced people to practice more patience & really listen to someone when talking instead of just planning their response.

Vaccine Passports

The item with the most support in the entire survey (74%) was à Require Vaccine Passports for students who want to take in-person classes in Fall 2021 & Spring 2022.

Most students (55%) also support vaccine passports for teachers who decide to have in-person office hours (as opposed to virtual office hours after teaching in-person).

Open Note Exams

Most students (63%) reported having more open note exams in the past year than at any point since 9th grade. The first midterm this Fall will be the first closed note exam many have had since February 2020.

Mental Health

Bffs & Netflix/Prime/streaming services (59% & 56%) were the primary things that helped students get through this. Dogs also won big. Cats & online videogame buddies tied.

Ai significantly underperformed expectations given the anticipation of Ai being utilized as future interaction partners for socially isolated retirees/elders & ppl with suicidal ideation.

[Note: Vaccine Passports (74%) received more support than Bffs (59%)]

Things To Keep

Once we return to in-person teaching, about 65% of students want the option to watch asynchronously to remain & 53% want the option to watch LIVE via Zoom to remain; primarily for occasions when they’d like to sleep in and/or not feel rushed trying to physically make it to class on time. To be clear, Zoom Fatigue is very real, but students would like Zoom to remain an option for days when they accidentally hit the Snooze button.

UCSD Update (April 5th)

Classes where masking is infeasible.
While we expect that fall 2021 teaching will be primarily in-person using indoor classrooms and will require masking, there will be a set of fall 2021 classes that will need to be taught outdoors or remotely, because course participants cannot be masked (e.g., language classes, certain music classes). We will keep the outdoor classrooms available for such uses.

Masks After Vaccination (item by one of my TAs, Min-gi Chung)

Only 7% of students indicated that they’re no longer wearing their mask after vaccination.

Once again, I found evidence that wearing masks may become a long-term behavioral change, as most indicated that they plan to continue wearing masks even into 2025 when sick or around sick people.

Maskual Harrassment

Very few students (6%; n = 18) indicated experiencing maskual harassment. One of them was a male.

Excerpt from “Why Phone Calls Combat Loneliness Better Than Zoom Calls” by Tom Jacobs of Elemental Editors (Mar 31)

Isn’t part of the stress of video calls centered around a perceived need to continually make eye contact? That can be tough.

Natalie Pennigton (see Hall et al., 2021): Absolutely. But that depends on the nature of your relationship. With my best friends, I know I can be a little more casual. I’m not going to be judged.

I can be washing dishes or walking the dog while I talk on the phone with my mom or my boss. The energy required for a video chat is quite a bit higher — even more than face to face. It becomes harder and harder as you add more people, and everyone is talking over each other.

You found being on social media was related to higher levels of stress and loneliness, which a lot of research also found pre-pandemic — scrolling through social media often makes us feel worse. Were there pandemic-specific issues as well?

Yes, there’s lots of research showing passive browsing behavior on social media is often linked to loneliness and distress. But past work has also found that direct communicating via Facebook or Twitter, where I’m messaging you and you’re responding to me, can be a form of connection that leads one to feel better. That wasn’t the case here.

From Tom Friedan’s latest piece

“The availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely with the need for it in the population served.”

— Dr. Julian Tudor Hart, in The Lancet (1971)


The Jim Code Laws

Safiya Noble demonstrates how search algorithms routinely work to dehumanize Black women and girls (Noble 2018). Ruha Benjamin challenges what she calls the “imagined objectivity” of software and explains how Big Tech has collaborated with unjust systems to produce “the New Jim Code”, software products that work to reproduce racial inequality (Benjamin 2019). Joy Buolamwini and Timnit Gebru definitively expose racial and gender bias in facial analysis libraries and training datasets (Buolamwini & Gebru 2018). Meredith Broussard challenges the “technochauvinism” embedded in AI and machine learning products (Broussard 2018). Rediet Abebe calls for us to confront the limitations of the concept of fairness and center our analysis on power (Kasy & Abebe 2020). Simone Browne teaches us that today’s cutting-edge technologies are part of a long history of surveillance of Black bodies in public spaces (Browne 2015).” — MisogyNoir Playbook

“Many international students believe that having a name that is difficult to pronounce and remember hinders them from being able to assimilate fully into a new culture and worry that for this reason they might not be seen as part of the community. Some international students are therefore willing to change their names so that they can be more easily identifiable by their peers. One of the downsides to this is that not only does it take away a part of their identity, but also takes away the opportunity for the natives of their host country to learn about a different culture and to accept and value the differences between the languages. It should be a personal choice whether you change your name or not, and no-one should feel pressured to change the identity you’ve lived with from birth. I did not choose to make my name more ‘spanishy’, nevertheless I can see the attraction of taking the opportunity of creating a completely new identity for yourself and taking on a traditional name of the country you are visiting. Why not become the new Beyonce Zhang or Juanita Jones!

What causes difficulty in name pronunciation?

The crux of the problem lies in the simple fact that each language has different sounds and tones, and the further away two languages are from each other, the more of a struggle it will be to imitate the sounds within the other. Let’s take English and Chinese for example. Chinese is a very tonal language, where the slightest change in tone can change the significance and meaning of a word, and its phonemes are rather difficult for an English speaking native to pronounce.

The Navajo language of the Native American Navajo tribe is a prime example of a language being used due to the difficulty in deciphering its sounds. During the Second World War the Japanese were left baffled by the tones and sounds of this ‘code’ — used by the United States Marine Corps when transferring secretive messages along the airwaves. They never managed to decipher it due to its complexity. It’s no wonder really when a long phrase such as chidí naaʼnaʼí beeʼeldǫǫhtsoh bikááʼ dah naaznilígíí simply means “army tank”.

” — Gwenllian Jones at Wolfstone (2012)

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.