Some students fail to comply with TCU’s mask mandate in ‘community locations’ on campus

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TCU campus is currently requiring masks in all indoor spaces (Staff Photographer/ Leah Bolling)

By Kathryn Lewis

TCU’s mandate requiring masks be worn inside buildings, including classrooms and the Mary Couts Burnett Library, has been in effect since fall 2020. But some students still fail to follow the mandate, especially outside of class.

“For the most part, people are really courteous there (in classrooms). Whenever the faculty ask them to just place their mask on, they’ll go ahead and do that. Community locations have been the areas we’ve had the most trouble with,” said Sean Taylor, director of emergency management.

Community areas such as the library and the University Recreation Center are harder areas to enforce the mandate, and Taylor asks students to “be more cognizant” of these areas.

Tarrant County’s community spread level is “high,” meaning there have been at least 100 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people in the past seven days.

According to TCU’s Protect the Purple website, “Due to the current Tarrant County Community Spread Level, TCU requires that face masks be worn in all indoor campus spaces to help protect the health and safety of our community.”

As of Jan. 28, 2022 there were 62 total active cases of COVID-19; 40 students and 22 employees.

Taylor said the mask mandate has been helpful in reducing classroom spread of COVID-19.

“The vast majority of our infections are traced back to settings where a mask was not worn: social events, family gatherings or household transmission,” said Taylor.

In order to ensure masking around campus, students may face consequences for not listening to university officials who ask them to put on a mask.

“Any time that we have issues, those cases can be referred to our Dean of Students [office] at which time they could potentially have some compliance or disciplinary issues if they’re not willing to cooperate,” Taylor said.

Some of the potential charges include failure to comply with a university authority official (instructor), disorderly/disruptive conduct and violation of posted rules and regulations, Taylor said.

Taylor added, “We would like to remind folks to help our community by wearing a mask any time they are indoors, regardless of vaccination status.”