Mask mandate lifted, campus life back to ‘normal’

On March 7, Minnesota State University, Mankato President Edward Inch sent out an email to the MSU community stating the campus-wide mask required is now lifted.

This decision was made after recognizing the Blue Earth County transmission rate has significantly decreased in the past week, as well as guidance from the Minnesota State system office.

This follows recent loosening of guidelines, as just four days ago, Inch sent another email to the campus community stating, “Starting Monday, March 14, there will no longer be a proof of vaccination or testing requirement for students living in residence halls or other designated activities.”

Some students, however, may still be required to have the vaccine or go through weekly testing due to the MMB and NCAA requirements.

Inch mentioned that, regardless of county-level data, people can still wear masks and their decision should be respected and supported by the rest of the campus community.

This news has been applauded and appreciated by many on campus. 

Mahdi Hassan, a graduate student at MSU, said, “I am happy and a little concerned about the email we received from President Inch. Happy because it has been a few long years with a mask mandate and COVID in place, now it will surely be nice to not have my face and nose covered all the time.” 

Hassan added, “Some people are not vaccinated, and that is somewhat a concern for the rest of the people. I hope we all stay safe.”

Other students are questioning the timing of the University’s decision. Renee Rockwell, a senior majoring in education at MSU said, “I am not attending any classes in person yet. Though I am fully vaccinated, I wasn’t feeling safe about going back to school.” 

While Rockwell may not be attending classes in person yet, she is looking forward to the change for the fall semester. 

“I am looking forward to doing most of my classes in person for the upcoming fall semester. With the recent guidelines in place it is truly great that we won’t have to wear masks anymore,” she stated.

With the new guidelines in place most of the campus community is expected to get rid of masks in classrooms and public places on campus.

For those who are looking to get a COVID-19 vaccine or get tested for COVID-19, Student Health Services will be offering these to the campus community. For more information about vaccine dates and testing times, visit the health services’ website.

Header Photo: Although masks are no longer required, MSU students are allowed to still wear them on campus grounds. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)

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