To mask or not to mask

Due to the Iowa Legislature UNI is unable to require masks, but some students have chosen to wear them despite no mandate.


Plastered on every window and door around campus is a flyer that, by now,  all students are familiar with. It reads: “Face masks encouraged (but not required).” This gives students and professors the ability to decide when and where they follow COVID-19 protocol — if at all. Campus is filled with different personalities and values with differing beliefs making masking on campus difficult to enforce. 

Very few students, like Stephaine Flores, choose to wear a mask constantly. 

“Keeping my mask on outside of my dorm is very important to me,” Flores said. “I am worried about not only my, but my family’s health. I feel safer knowing I have a mask on.” Flores just recently got her COVID-19 vaccine and hopes to see many other Panthers stepping up to keep UNI healthy.

“I try to remind myself that COVID-19 is still a huge deal. I wear my mask when in buildings and I make sure to use hand sanitizer every chance I get,” Ashton Nanke also shared.

Many Panthers have decided to only wear masks when asked. 

“My teachers strongly implied they would like us to wear masks, so I try to wear them in all of my classes,” Laura Czapiewski said. She, among others, claimed that remembering to bring a mask is hard and sometimes frustrating. Other students admit to following the herd.  

“I really only consistently wear a mask in the theatre building because everyone else does too. I should definitely get into the habit of always wearing one inside,” Megan Hadtke said. 

Some Panthers choose to completely avoid masks all together. Echo Bearden is one student among many who believe wearing masks isn’t solving the pandemic. 

“I’ve noticed at school having to wear a mask (my) health depletes.” Bearden prefers to prevent illness by limiting the people she’s around and social distancing. 

In order to maintain a healthy campus, stop by and grab free sanitation from any of the hand-sanitizer pumps around campus, and stay home if feeling ill.