Students react to governor Abbott’s new mask order and what that means for them

By: Kaley Dowell

Executive Producer

Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement mandating masks for everyone in Texas.

Abbott said, “Every person in Texas shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household.” 

Since the proclamation, many Tarleton students have been wondering how that will transition to classes at Tarleton and have their own opinions on the matter. 

Tarleton State University President Dr. James Hurley says, “As new cases of COVID-19 soar, it is paramount that we follow Gov. Abbott’s latest order. We have a moral and ethical responsibility to do everything we can to protect the safety of those on our campuses and the health of our region. Together, we can and will get through these uncertain times and I am confident we will come out stronger on the other side.”

Tarleton students agree that masks are very important during this time of uncertainty. They would rather choose to wear masks on campus in the Fall, then risk the health of those around them. 

Taylor Welch, senior music business major says, “I personally know people who are in quarantine from testing positive, stuck across the world in other countries unable to come home and even individuals who are no longer with us due to this pandemic. As the heat of the summer rises along with the number of cases and the death toll rising with it, I think it is best to take every precaution we can to get truly back to normal. While these precautions may be an inconvenience, it is that inconvenient mask, distancing and possible suffering that will bring people home, eventually build businesses back up, save lives and ultimately bring an end to this pandemic. All this is to say, Tarleton is a student-focused organization and they don’t go a day without debating on what is best for all of us here on campus. If wearing a mask is mandatory on campus, just as it is now in Texas by Governor Abbot, I will do so for myself, for you and for the friends and family I wish to protect.”

Freshman Andrea Ortiz

Freshman early childhood education major Andrea Ortiz says, “I’ve been wearing facemasks anytime I go out into high-risk towns. Seeing as though I come from a town that hasn’t really had any cases when Abbot issued the requirement and many people complained, I was fine with it. It meant I could help protect myself and my family as well as other people around me. If we have to wear a face mask to school in the fall then I’d be fine with it. I am protecting myself and others around me.”

Sophomore Michael Ethan Yarbrough

Michael Ethan Yarbrough, sophomore music education major says, “I feel that the requirement of a face mask is a great step in the right direction because of the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in America and also in Texas. I think this is especially necessary when on a college campus because of the sheer amount of people in a close area. My main hope for Texans on campus and in our state is to look past this as a political matter and see the core of the problem being that Corona is a real problem and wearing a mask does make a difference.”

Sophomore Caroline Clemons

Sophomore marketing major Caroline Clemons said, “Unlike most students my age, I see no problem with the new mask mandate. At the beginning of the pandemic, everything was new to us so of course, the obvious response was panic. However, after Texas started opening more and more, people stopped caring and acting as if the virus was gone. We became greedy with having our lives sort of back to normal and now we are faced with a whole new wave of cases all over the state and country that will definitely change how we do everything from now on, including going to school. While wearing a mask will not 100% protect you from getting the virus, it is still better to wear one than not wear one. They are not a huge inconvenience or uncomfortable to wear, so personally, I am not unhappy with the mask requirement.”

Junior Conner Blake
Photo courtesy of Facebook

Junior pre-nursing major Conner Blake says, “For me, the masks are essential for us to be going to class next semester because I know that Texas isn’t done with the virus yet. Greg Abbott did a great thing requiring masks, but he gave the counties no way to enforce it. Tarleton seems to understand that, during this time, masks are important. Dr. Hurley respects his students enough to protect them from this virus by making masks a requirement until we know when this will end for sure. I’m more than ok with wearing masks if it means I can continue my education in class instead of behind a computer and camera.”

While each student Texan News talked to agrees that wearing masks are essential, Elizabeth Brownen, a junior biomedical science major, brings a perspective not many have heard.

“I feel that while governor Abbot’s mask requirement is for the good of the people and it helps stop the spread of COVID-19, there are some negatives especially from the standpoint of a deaf individual. I already have enough trouble as it is in my day to day life trying to communicate with people in noisy situations and in the classroom setting and a lot of that communication heavily relies on reading lips. Once masks are required, that takes away my main form of communication and leaves deaf and hard of hearing people isolated in so many more situations. I feel that if we can make the proper accommodations across campus and remain patient when it comes to communication, the masks will be tolerable. Obviously, the ideal situation would be to not have to wear masks at all, but for the time being, I feel that masks are not the worst restriction that could be placed upon us at the moment.”

No one can predict what the fall 2020 semester will look like, but with many students saying they will abide by the mask requirement, hopefully, Tarleton will see its students back on campus again.

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