IWU students react to loosening mask mandates

By Farah Bassyouni Apr 1, 2022
Credit: Tíag
Credit: Tíag

Last Friday, Illinois Wesleyan changed their mask requirements following students’ return from spring break. The new policy requires students to only wear masks in classrooms and health spaces. This makes masks optional in residence halls, hallways, the Ames Library, Shirk Center and most other places across campus.

I asked students from all around campus how they feel about the looser mask requirements being put in place at IWU.

Sophomore Hailey Bond said that she doesn’t care too much about the change of protocols and has continued to wear masks in all areas. “I really just skimmed through the rules, it doesn’t make too much of a difference to me,” she said.

She’s not alone in this sentiment. “I mostly still wear mine regardless because it’s too much to remember when I need to wear it and don’t,” sophomore Samson Mosely said. 

It seems that most students feel that the mask policy that was in place before was alright and there isn’t much convenience in being allowed to stop wearing the masks in non-classroom areas.

“I don’t think IWU students really care about the new protocol, because most students haven’t been wearing masks in the more open areas for the past few weeks anyways,” sophomore Maggie Stucko said, further supporting the conclusion that the old mask policy wasn’t an issue. 

Stucko is correct in the fact that IWU’s old mask policy didn’t appear to be enforced too strictly. It’s been difficult to spot a mask in Dugout over the past couple of weeks and even in classes masks have been pulled down or taken off.

Sophomore Justin Mojica feels more strongly about the matter. “The new protocols are a recipe for disaster considering everybody is coming back from spring break from different places,” Mojica said. 

Mojica feels that the school is being somewhat irresponsible in caving to the peer pressure that administrators have faced after ISU loosened their mask protocols.

Mojica added that the removal of masks is “definitely not helping the mystery illness that’s been going around.” This statement was in reference to a virus that’s been going around IWU and has left many of his friends sick since the return from spring break.

“Loosening protocols for hallways but not classes is absurdly impractical,” Mojica explained, puzzled by the choices of locations where masks are optional. He then described how hallways are usually just as crowded as classrooms and are not socially distant.

Senior Jake Slovin added to Mojica’s thoughts on the matter. “I don’t understand why I have to wear a mask in class but not everywhere else,” Slovin said.

Junior Will Quane also shared Mojica’s frustrations, saying “I support the decision to ease up on COVID protocols, but the university’s execution on the subject has been morally distasteful.” Quane went on to explain that “if the school really wanted to limit the spread of COVID, but still be progressive about easing restrictions, they should still require masks to be worn in any university building.”

Junior Hadley McKenzie drove home the point and said “masks should either be required everywhere or optional everywhere.” 

“If we’re not wearing them in Saga, Dugout, hallways, etc, then it defeats the purpose of wearing them in class,” McKenzie explained.

There appear to be more strongly negative reactions to the change in mask protocols than strongly positive ones. Of all the students asked about the rule changes regarding masks, none of them were very excited to be able to go to Dugout or Saga mask-free. 

It appears most students don’t care as much about mask guidelines as the IWU administration seems to believe. 

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