On March 4, IU lifted its mask policy in accordance with state guidelines so students and faculty no longer have to wear them in classrooms or in buildings on campus.
After being in a pandemic for two years, it feels so weird that we can go back to having in-person classes with no masks on. Not that I am unhappy the whole situation is getting better, but I think IU did it at a weird time, especially considering it’s before spring break.
When my friends and I found out the mask mandate was going to be lifted, we were all a little skeptical. The timing was odd. We don’t have to wear masks a week before spring break, when a lot of people are going to travel to different places and could bring it back to campus. It worries me that we could be getting our hopes up about the pandemic slowing down only to be disappointed as cases may rise again.
IU is not the first college to lift their mask mandate. My friend at Northern Illinois University said they had their mask mandate lifted at the end of February. Even though different schools and states are starting to lift their mask mandates, some medical experts and even some students think it is too soon to be doing this.
I think if we were going to lift the mask mandate, we should have either done it a few weeks ago or at least a week or two after spring break, just to be safe. I love the idea that we do not have to wear masks anymore, but I also do not want to get COVID-19 from one of the hundreds of people who are going to Florida over spring break.
We have the choice if we want to wear a mask or not. Professors may request students wear masks but cannot require or enforce it. I only had one class on Friday, the first day of the mandate lift, and for the most part, students continued to wear masks in class.
This semester, I am not in a big lecture class. Rather, I am in a bunch of small 20-person classes, so my teachers have requested that we all continue to keep wearing masks when in class. I have no problem with continuing to wear them because I had COVID-19 in September 2021. It was not fun at all and I do not want to risk getting it again.
I do think the whole mask mandate being lifted is strange to think about. This has been our life for the last two years, and now it is showing signs of getting better. I would hate to have a taste of no masks on campus only for us to have to go back to wearing them after spring break.
If you feel more comfortable continuing to wear a mask in class or around campus, then do it. The change in requirements does not mean that we cannot wear masks at all.
Olivia Franklin (she/her) is a junior studying journalism with a minor in political science. She is a member of the swim club at IU and the Women in Media organization.