App State updates face covering policy, students share thoughts

App State students, faculty and staff will adapt to a new updated face covering policy on campus this fall. 

Both the mouth and nose must be covered when 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained. This can include campus hallways, classrooms, instructional areas, stairwells, elevators, restrooms and kitchens, according to an email Friday.

Chancellor Sheri Everts initially announced the policy in a June 12 message.

“Wearing a face covering is an expression of care, an acknowledgment of community, and a vital part of our plan to make our university as safe as possible for everyone,” App State wrote in an email. 

Violations may result in disciplinary action, “up to and including termination or expulsion,” according to the policy.

App State announced an updated face covering policy Friday expected of students, faculty and staff. Both the mouth and nose must be covered when 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained. (Emily Broyles)

Students voiced their thoughts on Facebook group App State Classifieds. Junior Kayleigh Conley said she’s proud of the university for enforcing masks on campus.

“If wearing a simple mask a) protects you and others b) allows us to have in person instruction and a college experience, even though it may be altered for safety and precautions, I’ll wear a mask,” Conley said.

Face coverings are not required in situations with close personal contact. This applies to working alone in a room or office, or when walking alone in an uncrowded outdoor location.

As for residential halls, students are not expected to wear face coverings in private living spaces. However, masks are required in common areas such as lobbies.

 Junior Sara Shepherd said she is “very happy they are not mandating masks to be worn at all times!”

Self-supplied masks are good to use as long as they are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and in accordance with CDC guidelines. Three reusable face coverings will be provided to every student, faculty and staff member.

Those unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition should contact the Office of Disability Services for an accommodation to the policy

 “I wish the administration would officially make accommodations for students like me,”  said Maggie Mae, an older student with medically at-risk children. “Right now I am relying on the extra effort and concern of my professors to accommodate my medical needs”

Student Emily Allen said the policy will be “useless.”

“People will still cram themselves into frat houses and share drinks and blunts and spit behind closed doors; also hands will be transmitting germs as per usual,” Allen, a junior, said. 

Allen said cafeterias, where students will eat without face coverings, will be crowded as well. She said while the policy means well, she doesn’t believe it will be that effective. 

“You won’t catch me wearing a mask, that’s for sure, said Daniel Kahill, a senior. “I have had to wear a mask on some job sites where I work and I can tell you it is not comfortable and I probably touched my face twice as much so what good is a cloth mask (?)”