SWOSU not joining universities’ mask mandates


Patrick Lee, Reporter

There has been recent news that some universities in Oklahoma are bringing the mask mandate back for students and their staff. Southwestern Oklahoma State University officials have been speculating about what the university should do for the safety of the students and their environment.

SWOSU returned to its normal school schedule and did not require students to wear masks; with recent news that other universities in the state are deciding to bring a mask mandate back, a debate was sparked as to whether or not SWOSU should do it as well.

SWOSU Vice President for Public Relations & Marketing, Brian Adler, confirmed that SWOSU will not change and stick to what it is doing now. With the school having multiple resources and COVID testing on-campus, he said he believes that the school is doing a great job managing the students and their staff.

“With infection rates appearing to decrease, now is not the time to slacken our efforts or let down our guard in this pandemic,” Adler said. “We encourage each one of you to do your part in battling this virus.”

According to the SWOSU website, recent COVID-19 numbers have been down with no staff being infected and one student infected. As of Nov. 10, 2021, there were less than 1,000 Custer County cases — only 811, one of which is from SWOSU.

SWOSU set up COVID testing stations around the campus and vaccinations as well throughout the whole semester. Students had the option of getting Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer or Moderna shots on campus.

With the holiday season approaching, students will go back home to spend time with their families, and SWOSU wants to remind all students and staff to remain safe and healthy.

“We are now coming into a time of flu season and the holiday season of spending time with family members, and we ask that you continue to do the little things to keep cases down, such as washing your hands, social distancing and sanitizing surfaces,” Adler said.

Several locations are available for those interested in getting flu or COVID vaccine shots. The available locations are the Wellness Center at SWOSU, Walgreens, Walmart and the Custer County Health Department.