Schools begin requiring and recommending masks on campus

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CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — “If everyone’s wearing a mask you don’t have any idea about anybody else’s health information. We’re not asking for any health information, we’re just saying everybody put a mask on,” Robin Kaler, U of I Associate Chancellor of Public Affairs, said.

The University of Illinois is now requiring students to wear a mask inside facilities starting July 30th. Students may need to start bringing back their mask. Central Illinois Schools announced their Covid plans for students and staff on campus.

Some U of I students say the university has been handling the pandemic extremely well. They also say they are nervous and a bit sad that more restrictions might continue.

“Its a little discouraging to see that email come through,” Thomas Zivat, senior at U of I, said.

Universities and colleges around Central Illinois are now recommending or requiring students to wear masks on campus. A lot of them are doing this after the CDC came forward recommending everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in Covid hotspots.

“All students, faculty and staff who are able to need to get vaccinated as soon as they can. Those who are not vaccinated will need to continue in our testing program, which will be very frequent, and of course everyone will wear masks indoors,” Kaler said.

The University of Illinois is requiring students, faculty, staff, and visitors to wear masks inside university facilities starting July 30th. It’s disheartening to students, who are nervous more restrictions may happen.

“It was a glimmer of hope to see everything opening up again and now, like I said, its seeming like its going to go back to the gutter,” Zivat said.

“I’m a little sad that we have to do that because it feels like we’re slipping back down into Covid, but I’m just going to follow what the CDC says and if it needs to be done, it needs to be done. I’m hoping people get vaccinated,” Pallavi Badanahatti, junior at U of I, said.

University leaders say their best to make sure students have a safe school year.

“We want to make sure that everybody gets to have as much of that college experience as possible this year,” Kaler said.

They’re not the only ones with that goal. Parkland College in Champaign is recommending masks starting August 2nd.

“We were able to put a message out to our campus. Give people a couple of buffer days to sort of start thinking about masks again, especially since so many members of our campus community have become vaccinated,” Stephanie Stuart, Vice President for Communications and External Affairs at Parkland College, said.

Millikin University is also requiring masks indoors for everyone regardless of vaccination status beginning August 2nd. Eastern Illinois University also announced a couple days ago that everyone in a campus buildings are required to wear masks.

While colleges and universities are requiring or recommending masks, they’re also requiring or recommending vaccinations. Parkland College is encouraging people to get vaccinated, but as a community college, they do not require the vaccination.

“We don’t actually require vaccination records from any of our students, not just for Covid, for other things. We’re strongly recommending for both staff and students as we come back,” Stuart said.

The U of I is requiring vaccines for those who are able. If not, the person will be tested constantly. When you send your vaccination status to the school, it goes to a health provider, so the school says it’s not a HIPPA violation.

“For vaccines, again the only place you would report that is to our McKinley Health Center, which is a medical facility, so its not a HIPPA violation for them to have your information,” Kaler said.

The U of I has an app that will allow people entry into buildings. It will grant access to buildings, if the person is vaccinated or if the person has tested negative.

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