DePauw Announces Universal Mask Policy for the Fall Semester

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Effective Monday, June 22 all DePauw students and employees will be required to wear medical masks, cloth face coverings, or non-medical masks inside University-owned spaces, according to an email from DePauw’s newly formed COVID-19 Task Force. 

According to the update, there will be exceptions to the rule for class activities where a mask would hinder learning, such as playing an instrument or speaking a language. The only place where masks are not required is in students’ “private rooms.” Individual cases such as those involving at-risk individuals will be handled by the Health and Safety pod of the COVID-19 Task Force.

It is not yet clear how the policy will be enforced. Senior Jack Herbst said that although he isn’t surprised by the new rule, he doesn’t think it will be easily enforced.

“Personally while I wear one, I don’t necessarily enjoy wearing it like most people,” Herbst said. “Given most people’s general invincible feeling about their own health, I feel it will be pretty fruitless, as maskless interactions are going to be happening away from school eyes.”

Other students find the rule excessive.

“I think it’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard,” said Preston McNeal, ‘23. “If the state is supposed to be completely opened up by July 4 according to the governor, then it should be the students’ personal option to wear a mask.”

McNeal works at a funeral home and is only required to wear a mask if he goes into a hospital.

He added, “I think that the campus also won’t feel as safe and friendly if we are forced to wear a mask.”

Erika Marchant, ‘22, is in favor of the guidelines being enforced in public spaces such as Lilly or academic building, but said it seems “excessive” to only allow masks off in private rooms, “It isn’t clear whether that applies for University-owned housing/dorm rooms or all spaces.”

Marchant also does not think the rule will always be followed, “Considering how relaxed some of the professors are and how little trust some people have in the administration, I have a hard time imagining that everyone’s going to honor the policy.”

Future updates related to COVID will be shared by the Health and Safety pod of the COVID-19 Task Force at depauw.edu/coronavirus.