Muma: University ‘getting close’ to relaxing COVID mandates


Devon Sipes/ The Sunflower

WSU President Richard Muma and WSU Vice President Shirley Lefever answer questions regarding Covid policies and campus growth, Feb. 22, 2022 at the RSC.

At the SGA town hall Tuesday, university President Rick Muma said that the university is “getting close” to relaxing COVID mandates.

“We expect [the mask policy to be] lifted probably in the near future, and we’re working towards that,” Muma said.

“I can’t give you an exact date, but we’re getting close.”

The county’s COVID test rate is currently at 5.5%, according to the county’s dashboard. As of Feb. 21, there are 98 COVID patients in the hospital with 29 in the ICU.

Currently, Wichita State’s policy requires masks to be worn at all times when indoors and outdoors when social distancing cannot be met. The university did drop all COVID mandates in the past, but they returned at full capacity due to President Joe Biden’s executive order. The university also had an employee vaccine mandate issued in October, but that was dropped in December.

The Student Government Association hosted the town hall in hopes to provide students an option to ask questions and share concerns with the university’s president and interim provost. Other topics included mental health, parking, the DEI plan and more. 

When asked about mental health concerns brought on by the pandemic, Interim Provost Shirley Lefever encouraged students to look at their options.

“We really recognize that and have tried to invest more resources,” she said. “We are really trying to raise awareness of how we can all be there for each other.”

Muma said that another way the university is working to ensure students heard is to have constant open dialogue.

“I believe that that relationship is a two-way street,” Muma said.

The university has a lot of resources, many of which fall through the cracks. Both Muma and Lefever recognized the difficulties students face when knowing what resources the university has to offer, and encouraged students, faculty and staff to help each other.

“It requires all of us, when you know information sharing it with others,” Muma said. “Sometimes it’s a matter of making a habit of checking Shocker Blast ever Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Going through the portal, accessing Blackboard that way or directly going through Blackboard.”

Lefever said they are in conversations with the IT department to come up with better solutions on how students can access all the resources they pay for.

“We’re open to ideas,” she said.

When it comes to parking, Muma said that has been a concern of students his entire time at WSU.

“We have made some improvements in parking over the years,” Muma said. “I will say that … There is available parking in places really close to buildings and I always ask, ‘Why aren’t students parking there?'”

Muma mentioned the parking lots near the Duerksen Fine Arts Center and Ech Baseball Stadium.

Muma said that with the new business building will come a new parking lot that can help free up some unavailable parking in other lots.