YIGIT KACMAZ, TRUMPET NEWS & CULTURE AND DIVERSITY EDITOR
The sequel: masks inside. Release date: Winter Term 2022. Reviews: Mixed.
Wartburg College updated its masking policy on Jan. 5 to mitigate the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 on campus.
Mask requirements are the same as in the beginning of the Fall Term. This means masks are required every indoor space with a few exceptions which incude: a student’s own residence hall, hallways and restrooms, designated eating areas, personal workspaces, specified athletic activities, and public exercise and swimming areas.
The school started offering on-campus testing for COVID-19 for the returning students from the Christmas Break.
Sixteen students tested positive after they have returned, said a Jan. 11 email from President Darrel Colson. In the following week, 31 more students tested positive for COVID-19.
The student body has mixed reactions about the masking updates.
“I just had COVID, and it was asymptomatic, now I am a little more for it,” fourth-year elementary education major Haley Jacobsen said, “because I feel like I could have spread it to a lot more people had I not been wearing my mask, because I did not know I had COVID.”
“I think if we are going to test, it is all right,” fourth-year elementary education major Chloe Zierke said.
Some students expressed reservations.
“I don’t really like it because in the outside or maybe in your room or in your dorm you don’t really wear one, you are exposed to a person or maybe many if you sit in the lobby with anyone,” first-year health and fitness major Caleb Sawvell said. “It kind of annoys me when I see people in their car wearing masks. They are in there by themselves with nobody around them.”
Second-year student Kale Roberts accepts it.
“Obviously, nobody likes walking around wearing masks all day,” the health and fitness major said. “If the college thinks that this is the best way to do it, then I’m OK with it. I wish did not have to wear it, but it is just there.”
On Sept. 19, 2021, mask requirements were only limited to classroom and congregate settings and in other offices. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant caused the recent restrictions in the masking policy.
Other updates for Winter Term include changes in the isolation and quarantine time following the CDC recommendation, said Colson. Individuals testing positive or who have been in contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19 will be in quarantine or isolation only for five days. The individuals’ quarantine or isolation will end if they have proof of a negative test at the end of these five days.