Administration made the smart choice by continuing the mask regulations on campus despite Gov. Greg Abbott’s removal of the mask mandate this week.
Beginning March 10, Abbott rescinded the public mask mandate established in July of last year. While private businesses and schools can still require masks and social distancing, several counties have implemented local mask mandates despite Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton challenging their ability to do so in court.
In the days after Abbott’s announcement, universities across the state began deciding whether to continue requiring masks on campus. Most universities have released statements requiring masks to still be worn in accordance with Texas Education Agency’s advisement.
Austin Community College, Baylor University, Paris Junior College, Rice University, Southern Methodist University, Southwestern University, the Texas A&M University System, Trinity University, Texas Tech University, the University of Texas at Austin, UT-El Paso, UT-Arlington and more have all maintained their mask mandates until the end of the 2021 year, and ACU quickly followed suit. Others are still waiting on word from administration as spring break season continues for most universities.
“In light of today’s executive order from the governor’s office, we want to reiterate ACU’s policy remains in effect that masks are required in all buildings, including classrooms, and social distancing should be practiced,” administration said in a short email. “Thank you for continuing to do your part to keep yourself and our campus community safe.”
While students and faculty vary on opinions about masks’ effectiveness, everyone is used to the protocols that have been in place. Taking away the protocols would cause an uproar from those who believe we need the masks and start up an argument that has been civil for months.
With only six weeks left in the school year, it would cause unnecessary dissension and could increase positive cases which have been lowering as the semester continues.
Administration hasn’t announced whether mask mandates and social distancing requirements will continue next school year, but sticking it out and following guidelines through these last few weeks could mean a normal school year sooner than we know it.