student reaction to mask mandate

Health officials since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have suggested people wear masks in order to protect themselves and those around them. 

Following Gov. Kim Reynolds' lifting the mask mandate Feb. 7 in Iowa, students shared their thoughts and discussed the impact of the proclamation on the Iowa State community.

Despite the changes in Iowa’s mask policy, Iowa State maintains its face covering requirement on university property. 

“Iowa State still has the mask mandate, so I don’t think it really has that much of an effect,” said Lauren Saxe, sophomore in animal science.

Justin Jaeckel, sophomore in computer engineering, feels that lifting the mask mandate does impact students at Iowa State. 

“People go home, they do other things and then they come back to campus,” he said.

The city of Ames also maintains its face covering ordinance, which will remain in effect until June 30. 

“Face coverings continue to be required by law in Ames,” City Attorney Mark Lambert said Feb. 9 in a press release

The timing of Gov. Reynolds’ proclamation, which went into effect the day of the Super Bowl, concerned some students. 

“I feel like it probably wasn’t the best decision because a lot of people got together shortly after and took advantage of the no-mask mandate,” said Kenzie O’Connor, sophomore in psychology.

However, Saxe shared a different perspective. 

“I don’t really think that if she would have removed the mask mandate a week later it would have made that much difference,” Saxe said. “I think definitely Super Bowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day would kind of have an impact on cases because there are going to be gatherings, there are going to be people going out more.”

Saxe also said the enforceability of the mask mandate on campus may be questioned. She said people may wonder why students are being forced to wear masks when there is no longer a mandate in Iowa.

“I think [lifting the mask mandate] is great," Saxe said. "There’s gonna be a point where we have to lift the mandate, and we can’t wear these masks forever.” 

However, students like O’Connor are not sure how they feel about the proclamation. She said the lifting of the mandate may not help the situation, but she doesn’t feel that most people are following the guidelines anyways.

Jaeckel said his disdain for the lifting of the mask mandate is simply due to the fact that there is still a pandemic happening. 

“It’s not great because we are still in a pandemic,” he said. “People are still dying.”

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