To Wear or Not To Wear

Students and Staff Decide for Themselves to Keep or Discard Masks on Campus


Jaia Dunbar

First-year Melia Ross and sophomore Isabelle Bauer doing homework together maskless in the Forrer Learning Commons. Ross and Bauer are among many other Bridgewater College students who have decided to stop wearing their masks.

Jaia Dunbar, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – After a policy change went into effect, Bridgewater College students, staff and faculty were given the option to start being inside campus buildings without the requirement of masks after Friday, March 11, at 5 p.m.

Some students have expressed that not having to wear the mask appears beneficial to life on campus.

“The morale on campus has definitely been boosted since the mandate has been lifted,” said junior Shifa Tewari. 

“Walking on campus without a mask on is like a breath of fresh air,” said sophomore Ali Bancroft.

Some students have decided to continue to wear their masks in order to combat societal expectations.

“I put on my mask at first in fear of being sick, but now I fear to take it off because of the expectations from people of what I should look like,” said sophomore Mae Lotts.

Some faculty members have decided to continue to wear masks out of respect for others.

“There are several reasons for my continued use; part is to show support and community concern for folks who have reason to continue wearing masks,” said Professor of Psychology Alan Eby.

Some students and faculty members alike have chosen to continue wearing their masks for safety reasons.

“I feel like it depends on the class, but in some of my classes I feel like I have to keep wearing because a lot of people are sitting close to me, and we are still in a pandemic,” said junior Katie Brooks.

 “Part of the reason for my continued use is some extended family health concerns and interest in reducing my exposure to help reduce risk to my family members,” said Eby.

“I feel safe taking it off, but still keep it on hand for those I am around who may be immunocompromised,” said Tewari.

“While it’s important that people should have the right to choose to wear a mask or not with the new CDC guidelines, I also think it’s important to note that it won’t be surprising if the Covid-19 rates rise again,” said junior Summer Shifflett.

Not having to wear a mask in classrooms has been helpful to students in being able to participate in class better.

“As a musician, having no masks in choral ensembles has been a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and makes us sound better,” said Tewari.

Some students are personally choosing to omit masks, but are hoping their fellow students will continue to be diligent about safety regardless.

“While masks are now being optional, I hope that my peers will still continue to wear them when appropriate or when needed,” said senior Katie Rice. “I personally choose not to wear my mask because I feel comfortable enough that myself and Bridgewater will be smart about decisions moving forward.”

“It’s really nice to see faces again and with it getting warmer it’s one less thing making me hot in buildings, but I kinda feel it out by class and what the professor seems comfortable with,” said junior Sara Robertson. “I always keep one in my bag to be safe if I ever feel like I need to put it on.”

“People still have the option to wear their masks and nobody is judged for wearing them and I think that is wonderful,” said junior Kate Dear. “Personally I am not wearing mine but still always have one on me just in case I get into a situation where I feel like I may need one.”