End to Campus Mask Mandate: Pro Opinion


Courtesy of Olivia Pasquale/Villanovan Photography

Despite some concerns, a more maskless campus is supported by much of the community.

Zoë Kim, Staff Writer

Beginning Monday Feb. 14, the University is no longer asking students to wear their masks in classrooms, dining halls and other public areas. This came as a surprise that is worth celebrating as a community.

The news brought smiles around campus, ones we can finally see now there are no masks to hide them. It is our first step towards the pre-COVID era, which is a triumph. Still, many are doubtful of whether this was the right call from the University.

However, it should be noted in the face of these concerns that many of Villanova’s COVID-19 policies are largely performative in practice. Around much of campus, it has been a rare sight to see students who wear their masks in the past weeks and months.

Students do not abide by these policies; they simply work around them. Many students sit in libraries with drinks out as an excuse to not wear their masks. They will wear them under their noses or on their chins as an accessory.

These bad mask-wearing habits defeat the purpose of it all. Some students turn to wearing neck gaiters, which do not reduce their chances of COVID-19. At that point, what is the purpose of it? If students are not listening to these protocols, then why have them in place?

Social-distancing has also been thrown out the window. There are lectures with 40 to 50 students in small classrooms and extracurricular activities where students aren’t practicing social-distance or mask-wearing.

Just go to the Davis Center, where unmasked students share exercise equipment and machinery without any thought of the virus. There are no longer reservations for the equipment, so campus gyms are often crowded with eager gym-goers. This is just one of many locations where there is already no protection against the pandemic.

  Despite this, those opposed to the new policy are afraid of an outbreak. We should not be too surprised if there is an outbreak here, as it is happening to campuses around the country.

If this occurs, students will quarantine in a designated and isolated location near campus or at home. But it will not lead to a large population of students in hospitals, because the community is for the most part young, healthy and vaccinated. As of this week, there has been no hospitalization from the pandemic at the University, so there is no-better situated community than Villanova. 

Though the pandemic is no longer a huge threat to our community, it is still not over. We will continue to live in this pandemic-era for a long while, as new strains of the virus arise. I cannot be the only one who believes the prospect of enduring the pandemic for years and years to come is frustrating. So for now, we should celebrate this normalcy of living without masks.

In many ways, masks are puzzling because of how they have been perceived by the greater public and the news. In the very beginning of the pandemic, everyone in America was ordering masks online, in fear of the virus. Some tried sewing their own masks with colorful fabrics because they could not find them anywhere. There was a shortage of masks around the country.

From then to now, it has become a debate for schools whether students should wear them or not. Today, there are more Democratic governors saying students can now leave their masks behind.

When worn properly, masks slow the transmission of the virus and protect thousands of people, but they also impede communication. Talking with a mask can be difficult, especially without seeing facial expressions.

There are thousands of people who proclaim it is an easy task to wear a mask. It is no doubt an easy task for them. But it is not so easy for young children and those who are hard of hearing or have learning disabilities.

The University is not ordering its students to leave their masks behind. It is giving students freedom to weigh the pros and cons and choose for themselves. It is saying “we trust you” to all of the Villanova community. It is asking students to step up to the plate, as a community. Let’s show the University we can do this.