Governor J.B. Pritzker recently announced that everyone will be required to wear a mask indoors again, regardless of vaccination status.
Students at Illinois State University did not seem to be surprised by the news.
“I think the mask mandate makes sense, it’s just an extra precaution against COVID. It makes just as much sense that [unvaccinated people] wear masks as [vaccinated people] do,” junior computer science and anthropology major Jose Lopez said.
Cases of COVID-19 have been rising across the country. In the announcement on Thursday, Pritzker had explained that parts of Illinois were nearly out of Intensive Care Unit beds.
Junior professional accountancy major Skylar Timbrook said that she thought something like this would happen since everyone is returning to school and work.
“Honestly, I’m not surprised. I knew once school started that it wouldn’t take long for the mandate to be reinstated,” Timbrook said. “Hopefully everyone does their part, and it doesn’t progress any further.”
Like students at many other universities, ISU students like to spend time together on the weekends, but ISU’s mask mandate does not include private spaces.
Freshman early childhood education major Maggie Jaros explained that students’ desire to have a regular college experience may be outweighing the risk.
“It’s easier to wear a mask in a classroom setting, but then when you’re with your friends, we’re more comfortable around each other. We’re kind of all just sick of it so it’s kind of hard to enforce it,” Jaros said.
The other part of Pritzker’s announcement was that all education personnel would be required to have the COVID-19 vaccine or participate in weekly testing.
Requiring the vaccine in a variety of job fields has been a debate across the county. Freshman nursing major Noelle Carlson said she felt that everyone, especially people working in hospitals, should get vaccinated.
“They should get vaccinated just to protect those around them because the reason that we have to wear masks again is because not everyone got vaccinated, so if everyone got vaccinated, we could finally move on with our lives,” Carlson said.
As of Aug. 20, 61% of students at ISU were fully vaccinated. While that number may be higher than the national average of 52.3%, health officials would agree it is not close enough to gather in large numbers safely.
Sophomore political science major Samantha Johnson gave some advice for students who still want to go out.
“Think logically, don’t think recklessly. Take care of yourself, take care of your health. Be mindful of the people around you and then we should be able to move forward,” Johnson said.