Students share differing opinions on continuation of mask mandate

After a nearly three months long indoor mask mandate in Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards has lifted the statewide requirement. The announcement came on Oct. 26. The same day, ULM announced that it will keep its mask mandate.

The schoolwide email sent by the Office of Marketing and Communications said that Ouachita Parish is still an area of high transmission, according to the CDC, which is why the campus mandate will stay in place. 

However, many students are not in favor of this decision. Kennedy Johnson, a senior speech language pathology major, said she understands the need to protect others but wants to stop wearing a mask at some point.

“I wouldn’t have gotten vaccinated if I would’ve known I’d still have to wear a mask all the time,” Johnson said.

Sidney Jones, a senior history major, said it’s not fair for ULM to mandate masks when the state doesn’t.

“What good does it do for me to wear a mask in Bayou Pointe, for example, but cross the street to Walmart and not have to wear a mask?” Jones asked. 

He said students should be able to choose whether they want to wear a mask or not.

Jones’s opinion was echoed by Gabby Ballew, a senior communication major, who said the decision should be left up to the students. She said we have “extremely low cases” both as a state and on campus.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, there is an ongoing decline in cases. There were 871 new cases on Sept. 30, while there were only 178 on Oct. 30.

However, some students think the campus mask mandate is still a necessary safety precaution. Shontel McDonald, a senior psychology major, said she’d keep wearing her mask whether ULM required it or not.

“There is a deadly virus going around regardless of vaccination status,” McDonald said.

Universities have had different responses as well. While the entire UL System is keeping their mandate, Louisiana Tech’s has been lifted, according to their website.