Social distancing or just social?

George Schroeder and Drake Toll | Broadcast Reporter

Life on campus is different than ever before in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and Baylor University has implemented strict guidelines to help keep students safe. Mask mandates and social distancing are common across campus, however some students may not be taking those precautions seriously.

Filmed on Thursday night, a viral Twitter video captures dozens of students closely congregating on Fountain Mall, mostly unmasked. Cassie Nataro, a junior from Easton, PA, filmed and posted the video and was angered by what she saw.

“I was furious,” Nataro said. “I was helping these freshmen move in and they’re just going to go and disrespect all these students like that? That’s not cool.”

Nataro also expressed that students not following Baylor policies may bring a swift end to in-person instruction this semester.

“I think we’re going to be online before September hits,” she added. “I don’t think we’re going to make it very far because of things like that.”

According to Nataro, her and at least one friend contacted Baylor PD, but it is unknown if any action was taken.

The department later released a statement to LTVN stating, “The situation that occurred on Fountain Mall Thursday night provides another educational opportunity for our students as we all work together to prevent and manage COVID-19 on our campus. If you are outside on the Baylor campus and not able to socially distance, you must wear a mask according to university policy. We have reminded students on social media and will continue our efforts via text messages and new signage in several areas across campus later today.”

While campus officials have been sure to voice their disapproval of the scene, not all students see exactly eye-to-eye when it comes to wearing masks outside.

“If you’re keeping your distance outside, I don’t think it’s necessary to wear a mask, but if you’re inside, I think it’s important,” Michael Bailey, a graduate student from Nashville, said.

Every student may view things differently, but all are expected to comply with Baylor’s COVID-19 policies, and Nataro urges everyone to take this pandemic seriously. Her message to those who have broken protocol was blunt.

“I hope that little bit of freedom was worth it to spend the rest of the semester in your house with your parents again,” Nataro concluded.