Students share opinions about new mask rules on campus


Jordan Plowman

Byran Perez-Moreno, pre-dental freshman, tells The Sunflower that WSU made the right move removing the mask mandate, allowing students to choose for themselves on March 9.

Wichita State dropped its mask mandate last Friday and with the decision came both disapproval and praise.

WSU followed other state universities — like the University of Kansas and Kansas State University — who removed their mask mandate as well while still “strongly encouraging” mask use by people on campus.

Private universities in Wichita dropped their mandates earlier on. Friends University dropped its mask mandate on Jan. 31 and Newman University ended its on Feb. 28

“I feel like it was the right choice,” Pre-dental freshman Bryan Pererz-Moreno said.  “There were students not even wearing the mask anyways, but removing the mask mandate could help keep students with the university and keeping them on their side … instead of forcing them to wear them.”

Some students share concerns about what removing the mask might mean for students’ safety. 

“With the Omicron surge, a lot of people getting hospitalized [and] a lot of deaths are still happening every day,” Biology senior Cameron Madison said. “I don’t think it was the right time to remove mask mandates.

“I think masks save lives.”

As of Wednesday, Sedgwick County has a two percent positive test rate. The highest percentage was twenty three percent in January. The county currently has 10 patients in the ICU.

The CDC recently released new guidelines for wearing masks that are based on hospitalization rates in communities, instead of the rate of COVID-19 infections.  This decision is based on widespread population immunity.

“I think that it is a good thing that they are lifting the mask mandate because we have seen over the past few months that the number of cases have been dramatically decreasing,” Chadrack Kamba, a senior studying mechanical engineering. 

Some students say that while the numbers are decreasing, removing masks might negatively affect those trends.

“The recent cases have gone down so much recently because we had the masks on so I think removing them especially in classrooms is just going to make the numbers go up again, so we’re going to have to put them back on,” WSU student Mary Harbour said. 

The university still continues to encourage COVID safety precautions and frequent testing. Students can receive free testing at the Student Health Services located in the Student Wellness Center at the campus YMCA. 

The university could switch back to requiring masks at any moment, depending on requirements, COVID numbers and overall safety. 

“The university will continue to monitor the COVID situation on our campus and in our community and will be prepared to pivot back to a mask mandate if the situation warrants,” a university release stated.