Students split on mask policy

Ava Pollock and Joey LeMaster

ECC is keeping its mask mandate after announcing that the campus would be mask optional.
(In this photo from September 2021, ECC student Lloyd Chinnock follows ECC mask guidelines while doing school work.) (Dom Di Palermo)

On Feb 10., Elgin Community College announced that the mask mandate was going to be lifted at the campus. The reversal of the mask mandate means that wearing a mask would be optional for anyone on campus. On Feb. 22, ECC announced they will be keeping the mask mandate.

The reception of this decision was mixed among the student body. Some students saw the mandate as a good thing to keep upholding.

“I feel that the mask mandate was put back into effect for good reason,” said ECC student Gianna Greco. “In my opinion, it’s for the best in order to keep others safe during this time. I feel this way because if it’s a small change to keep everyone safe, then I see no reason for it to be a problem.”

Some students were rather concerned about the mask mandate being lifted. One student saw no point in the mandate still being enforced, seeing how some still struggle to follow the mandate as of now.

“I have professors who lift their masks and talk with the masks lifted [up] the entire class so at this point it’s just kind of pointless because we’ll still have people who don’t follow it,” said ECC student AJ Wandell.

A student at ECC who wished to be kept anonymous had a different opinion on the matter.

“I don’t mind having to wear a mask and I was planning on wearing mine regardless of the mandate, but I don’t know if I agree with it being required just because some people disagreed,” the anonymous ECC student said. “It was an option to wear a mask once it was lifted, so those who wanted to continue to wear a mask still had that option and those who didn’t want to could go mask free.”

Other students were looking forward to this mandate being lifted and weren’t all that happy when it was announced that it wasn’t being lifted after all.

“Personally, I think that ECC agreeing to remove the mask mandate when the state requested it was a step to a normal life again,” said ECC student Abe Salazar. “But when they said they had to enforce it again because they simply ‘could’ kind of upset me a bit since they don’t go by their word.”

Many students could see either side.

“I’m on both sides,” said ECC student Karina Flores. “I would like the mask to stay because it’s a way to protect each other from spreading the virus more, but also I’m tired of it.”

For some students, the mask mandate lift being canceled would impact their time spent at ECC for reasons other than classes.

“I would rather go somewhere else to study if I don’t have to wear a mask there,” said a different anonymous ECC student. “I will still come to class but won’t be spending much time at ECC.”

For others, the mask mandate being lifted won’t have much of an impact on their ECC attendance.

“Most likely not because I do like some of the classes that I go to,” said Salazar. “But it’s a matter of my teachers’ responses to me wearing a mask.”

If the mask mandate had been lifted, some students would have continued to wear their mask even though it was optional to do so.

“I’ll still wear it,” the second anonymous ECC student said. “I don’t wear it right ever and don’t plan on changing that.”

Salazar shared a similar opinion to the anonymous ECC student.

“ I mean I’ll probably wear it . . . but I’ll just adjust so that I can breathe better,” Salazar said.