Oakton’s mask mandates relent


Gabriela Krieger, Editor

After much deliberation, Oakton has come to a conclusion: beginning March 21, the college has opted to relax mask rules. 

For the foreseeable future, face masks will continue to be required for all students and staff in classrooms and labs on Oakton’s campuses, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are also required in the Early Childhood Center, and the Wellness Center and Health Services.

Masks will be recommended but optional for everyone in other indoor spaces on campus, including:

  • Departmental offices and administrative spaces (including the Enrollment Center, Financial Aid Office, etc.) 
  • Cafeterias
  • Student Center
  • Fitness Center
  • Library
  • Gymnasium
  • Common study areas
  • Hallways and restrooms

In response to Cook County’s COVID test positivity ratings dropping to three percent, a statistic that, at one point in time, seemed unattainable, officials have made the decision to relent mask and vaccine mandates. 

This change, albeit abrupt, is a positive one: according to NBC 5, the county is averaging only 285 new COVID cases per day. 

Consequently, proof of vaccination or negative covid tests will no longer be required in businesses, and the wearing of a face covering will no longer be enforced. 

For secondary schools in the area, the choice has been handed to the administrators. As a result, students in multiple Cook County high schools are currently attending class maskless; naturally, these pronouncements have prompted Oakton students to wonder if their college would follow the trend. 

Oakton’s administrative staff have, admittedly, been slow with making decisions. The quick turnaround from the beginning of this semester from online to remote was evidence enough; additionally, the system that informs instructors about compliance has faults. 

Oakton’s struggle to make a decision is certainly reflected in the student body: thoughts concerning the mask debacle are opinionated, contradictory, and uncertain. 

“I believe in getting rid of the masks because civil rights matter,” said Oakton student Sadia Durrani. 

“It sucks,” agreed Oakton student Valeria H. “My skin breaks out.” 

However, there is also a sense of hesitancy when confronted with such a swift rule change. “Everyone should wear a mask until covid-19 causes the same amount of worry as the flu,” said Oakton student Kaitlin Heimbach. 

In the end, it is impossible to please all of Oakton’s students, staff, and affiliates; the main concern is that the school environment remains safe and healthy.