Local Colleges Require Masks

Kira Milne, Editor

Arizona State University recently announced that they would be requiring face coverings in certain indoor settings, such as labs and classrooms. Other local colleges such as Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona followed soon after. Despite the mandate ban in place by Governor Doug Ducey these colleges found a loophole to require all persons to wear a face covering when indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.

The statement from Arizona State University announced that “In order to restore the learning environments on campus and get the full on campus experience, in certain indoor settings face coverings will be required. Those settings include all classrooms and teaching or research labs,” according to their website. This announcement followed the CDC’s recommendation “…that people wear face covers in indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status in areas of substantial or high transmission of the virus. Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ has endorsed this recommendation and has urged the public to follow suit,” according to an article by Azcentral. 

The importance of following this recommendation stems from the Delta Variant appearing and  being more aggressive and more easily transmitted, the precaution to require masks enables students to remain at school full time, safely. Most of the controversy regarding this precaution comes from the public, rather than students. For instance, Gina Botticelli, a graduate from Thunderbird High School and a current junior at Arizona State University remarked that “I don’t really mind as long as I’m able to get the hands on experience in my labs and actually attend games, wearing masks really isn’t that much of an inconvenience to me.”

Overall, despite the state prohibition on the requirement of masks by Governor Ducey, these colleges overthrew this and opted for the safer precaution as an effort to keep students attending their classes in person for the best experience possible. These colleges “unlike the legislation applicable to K-12 districts, neither the governor’s order nor the legislation applicable to the universities prohibits a mask mandate,” said ASU spokesperson Jay Thorne. “Instead, it prohibits the universities from either requiring vaccinations or imposing different requirements on students to attend classes (such as masking or testing) based on the student’s vaccination status or willingness to disclose that status,” informed Lacey Latch, a reporter for azcentral. The requirement doesn’t only cater to those who are unvaccinated, instead all students are required to wear masks in these close settings where social distancing is not an option.