Students concerned over mask policy

Rhonda Wheeler, Editor-in-Chief

Linsdey Sparks was shocked to see people not wearing masks on campus before classes started, especially since it would be required for people to wear them in buildings.

Sparks, who works in the Community Center, told The Shield she witnessed three Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s deputies walk in and take off their masks after about 10 minutes.

“It shocked me that since they are working with the university and they are a part of (Sheriff’s Office) that they weren’t wearing masks,” the junior psychology major said. “So that just kind of worries me for the start of the year and how that could affect students’ views on wearing masks.”

Sparks thinks the deputies not wearing masks gives students the impression it’s OK to not wear your mask on campus.

Sheriff Dave Wedding said deputies are required to wear masks if they can’t social distance, but if they are outside or six feet away from someone, they aren’t required.

“Sometimes they block your peripheral. If you’re wearing glasses, they can steam up your glasses or if you need to react quickly it can be an impediment to your view,” he said.

Wedding said he has not received any complaints or reports about deputies not wearing masks.

Shield employees observed students without masks while in groups of 2-4 outside this past week.

Masks are required on campus. Anyone on campus is required to wear one while in buildings and outside when physical distancing is not possible. The university will be providing a mask to each student on campus.

The President’s Office sent out an email to the campus community yesterday. Students are to avoid gathering in large groups, maintain good hand hygiene, wear facial coverings and keep six feet or more distance on and off campus.

 “If you really want to stay here, if you really want to have an amazing experience on campus, if you want to have time with your friends, your loved ones, you want to see your professors, day and day again, take care of these expectations,” Rochon said.

The email also said a student has been tested for COVID-19. This was from family exposure and the student was tested out of state. After testing positive, the student filled out a self-report form and the university was able to “trace exposure to other students who had gathered off campus.”

Earlier this week the University of Notre Dame suspended on-campus classes for two-weeks. Indiana University required students to be tested for COVID-19 before going back to campus.