Mask on the ground

A mask on the ground in downtown Morgantown.

Wearing a mask is one of the most common recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help slow the spread of COVID-19 but, at WVU, not all are abiding by the regulations.

At WVU, it is required to wear a mask anytime you’re in a public place. This requirement includes being inside University buildings, resident halls and outdoor University property when students are in close proximity. The University has limited most common areas to a small number to encourage social distancing.

According to the University’s COVID-19 Dashboard, Feb. 8 to 14 showed a 3.53% positivity rate, which has increased almost each week since students returned to campus.

Lily Oles, a freshman recreation, parks and tourism resource student, said students in the dorms typically wear masks in public areas, like the lobby, but not everywhere in the building.

“Outside, people take their masks off,” Oles said. “[People] sitting at a table in the Mountainlair, by themselves or with their friends, whether they’re eating or not, usually have their mask off.”

According to Oles, not as many people on campus wear masks as they do in the dorms. Residence hall assistants and other residence hall staff have been reminding students to continue wearing masks in the building.

With general faculty not enforcing it in public spaces like the Mountainlair, students aren’t held accountable to the fact they need to keep their masks on inside University property. Oles said there hasn’t been a pressing issue of students not wearing masks in classrooms.

“People are getting more and more careless just because they’re getting used to it, and I think that they should be used to following the guidelines and not getting used to being tired of [it],” said Lydia Kellas, a freshman advertising and public relations student.

Kellas believes overall the University has done a good job making the testing center available to students, but it needs to consider a downtown testing location site for student convenience.

“I think it comes down to privilege. They’ve never been told that they can’t do something,” said Eliza Siefert, a sophomore environmental microbiology student.

Kellas and Oles suggested that the University impose stricter policies for mask-wearing on campus. Siefert suggested fining students who don’t wear masks to make the expectations clearer .

“I know the University already has a mask mandatory policy, but it’s obviously not effective,” Kellas said.

As the U.S. nears its one-year mark from the COVID-19 shutdown, students have normalized the society we now live in and choose to either assimilate or challenge the healthcare guidelines.

Contributions made by Sadaf Nikzad and Emily Rexroad.