Students share mixed opinions on lifting of Texas’ mask mandate

Students have mixed feelings following Gov. Greg Abbott's announcement to lift the mask mandate in Texas. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)

By Erianne Lewis | Staff Writer

Texas’ statewide mask mandate expires Wednesday amid concerns from health officials that warn against easing safety precautions. Baylor students went to social media to express either their joy or concerns about this announcement.

McKinney freshman Sarai Del Toro said she thinks Gov. Greg Abbott’s lifting of the mask mandate was ill-timed.

“I think that we still have a long way to go with vaccinations to reach herd immunity, and it’s definitely not a safe idea to be lifting the mask mandate at this moment in time,” Del Toro said. “I think the Governor was just pulling a political stunt and trying to please the far right in making a decision that could cost the lives of so many Texans.”

Garden City junior Trent McMillan said he was very pleased with the mask mandate being lifted not just by Abbott but by governors across the United States.

“I believe that the national mandate forcing masks on civilians is not only unconstitutional but established on a fragile basis,” McMillan said. “I don’t think they should have ever been implemented, aside from the ‘two weeks to stop the spread’ as we were figuring out exactly what this virus was. So, while I think Gov. Abbott made the correct decision at this time, he made the wrong one almost a year ago.”

McMillan said he plans to only wear masks in places he is instructed to.

“As I have from the start of the pandemic, I will wear a mask inside any private business that asks me to put one on when I walk in,” McMillan said. “I respect private decision making that is in the best interest of those owners, but I respect my right to my body when I am in my private capacity or on public grounds even more.”

Garland senior Emily Dickey said she will continue to wear her mask to put the safety of others above her own comfort.

“I think lifting the mask mandate is premature. I’m just as tired of masks as the next person, and I’m not high risk. The fact is that my own comfort is always less important than the health and life of those who are high risk,” Dickey said. “We as a society should be okay with a small inconvenience for ourselves to save lives.”

Newport Beach, Calif., freshman David Wynne said he supports the lifting of the mask mandate because he believes it is a transition back to a pre-COVID-19 routine.

“I think it is overall a good move. This helps drive us back towards a state of normalcy,” Wynne said. “It gives people the option to wear one or not which I support. Overall, I think it’s a good step in the right direction.”

Shortly after Abbott’s announcement, Baylor released a statement confirming its commitment to on-campus COVID-19 health protocols, including the wearing of masks.

Las Vegas freshman Jacey Buchorn said she is happy that Baylor is continuing to enforce the mask mandate.

“I think it’s very good, especially with the fact that the majority of the student population has no regard for COVID safety and are often seen at parties or dance halls, [such as] Melody Ranch, without masks,” Buchorn said. “If we want to continue to have in-person class, we need to be wearing masks.”