COVID on Campus

Mask mandate ends at UW-Eau Claire

Kyra Price

More stories from Kyra Price

Across the Pond
May 9, 2024

Photo by submitted

The news column “COVID on campus” posts relevant COVID-19 news every week for UWEC students.

According to the CDC, masks have been a source of protection at UW-Eau Claire for the past two years, but as of March 12, they were no longer required. According to students, this new change has brought mixed feelings.

Some students said they feel conflicted about the timing of the ending of the mandate, as well as the potential division it could cause among students.

First-year undeclared student, Rachel Jossart said, “I mean, already in a few of my classes teachers have made a mask side and a not mask side.”

Jossart said people wearing masks will likely judge those not wearing masks, and vice versa. She is also concerned about the timing of the end of the mask mandate.

Jossart expressed confusion regarding why the school did not wait until a week or so after spring break to end the mandate, since she expects cases to rise once students come back to school.

Emily Brunette, first-year communications, sciences and disorder student, has similar concerns. She said that she is worried about the end of the mandate with spring break right around the corner, but is excited to no longer be required to wear masks.

“I’m excited that we don’t have to wear them anymore, but I think they should’ve waited until the week after spring break,” Brunette said.

Brunette said she’s worried about any separation the ending of the mandate could create between students.

She said, “I don’t want it to, but I feel like the people that continue, there will be judgment toward the people who didn’t.”

Despite their concerns, students have said they are excited that the mandate is ending, and the potential return to normalcy.

“I’m happy that we’re hopefully getting back to something normal,” Jossart said.

She said she is worried about a potential spike, but believes UW-Eau Claire can push through it.

Jossart said she is excited to stop wearing her mask. Brunette said she feels similarly.

Both are fully vaccinated and boosted, and said they feel as though they have done their parts.

“I’m not [wearing a mask] unless I don’t feel good, just because I’m fully vaccinated and boosted. If I’m sick I’m gonna wear a mask,” Brunette said.

According to the CDC, they still base their recommendations on the risk in each county. They recommend that all people get vaccinated if possible, and that people get tested if they show symptoms of COVID-19.

The CDC recommends masks to anyone with symptoms, a positive COVID-19 test or exposure to someone with COVID-19. According to the CDC, readers should remember, however, that masks are required on public transport, and may be required in other places depending on what local authorities say.

Eau Claire, WI is currently 64.6% vaccinated, and has a 3.8% positive test rate. There are 10.6 new cases daily per 100,000 people, and 22 hospitalizations per 100,000 people.

According to the CDC, Eau Claire County is currently at a low risk level, which means that the CDC recommends that people may choose to wear a mask at any time, but there is no urgency to do so.

Price can be reached at [email protected].