UCCS students express concern over ending mask mandate, governor extends order

Isaac Werner  

iwerner@uccs.edu  

     Many places in the United States are beginning to see glimpses of a world post-coronavirus. With states like Texas and Montana beginning to lift the mask mandate, Colorado’s own mask mandate is set to expire for select counties at Level Green on the state’s color-coded COVID-19 dial framework.  

     However, for the rest of the Colorado counties above Level Green, the mask mandate has been extended for another 30 days. The announcement was made on April 3 by Gov. Jared Polis.  

     Before the mask mandate was extended for counties including El Paso, UCCS students expressed concern over the mask mandate being lifted.  

     Ena Vigil, a first-year biology student, said she believes that some COVID-19 restrictions should not be lifted until the summer months, when outdoor social distancing becomes possible.  

     “I think Colorado in general as a state has been good at implementing COVID guidelines that have helped us return to a level yellow warning in conjunction with vaccination,” she said. “Rolling back guidelines that continue to keep people safe is tricky, as you never want to endanger people, but you also want to be able to slowly begin going back to routine life. 

     “I would maybe like to see the continued use of mask and guideline mandates until closer to summer,” Vigil concluded.  

     Natalie Harrison is also a first-year student at UCCS, majoring in psychology. Her sentiments were similar to Vigil’s. She said that she hoped the restrictions surrounding COVID-19 would stay in place until more people were vaccinated.  

     “I feel that lifting the mask mandate so soon will be a mistake,” Harrison said. “I know everybody is looking forward to things getting back to normal, but I think that decision will stunt our progress in getting to that point of normalcy. 

     “Additionally, while I feel safe on campus, I think my willingness to venture outside of this campus to get necessities will be significantly lessened if I know people won’t wear masks. As much as I wear my mask to protect myself, I also choose to because it protects others.”  

     Harrison then concluded, “If we all do our parts by continuing to social distance, use good hygiene and wear masks, I think we will be safer and more efficient at dealing with this pandemic.” 

     Kesiime Akankwasa is also currently studying psychology as a first-year student at UCCS, as well as pursuing a degree in women’s and ethnic studies.  

     “I feel like in general nowhere in the U.S. should be lifting the mask mandate as of right now. I feel like not enough people have received the vaccine and people haven’t been being super careful,” they said.  

     Freshman music creative performance major Emma Talarico expressed worry over having to interact with people who are unmasked and not vaccinated.  

     “Even though a large amount of the population is vaccinated, numerous studies have shown that masks should still be worn,” she said. “Honestly, it makes me kind of nervous to have to interact with so many people at work, even if they’re not wearing masks.”  

     For El Paso County, the mask mandate has been extended for 30 days as of April 3, per the announcement made by Polis.  

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