Abilene Christian University enacts temporary mask mandate

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Just weeks into the new school year, Abilene Christian University (ACU) is putting a temporary mask mandate in place.

While ACU originally opened the fall semester as “mask optional,” the school is now taking precautionary measures to ensure safety across campus, where there are mixed emotions about the mandate.

Senior Andrew Nunns said that he’s used to the mask after a year and a half.

“It doesn’t really bother me that much anymore,” Nunns said. “It’s been a part of me for a year.”

Nunns said he wasn’t surprised to see the mandate get put into effect, but said he has enjoyed seeing everyone’s faces again this year.

Senior Allie Jones said that she is in favor of the mask mandate, and that she appreciates the university for trying to get ahead.

“Honestly, I think it’s a good idea that we’re trying to keep everyone safe,” Jones said.

Jones also said that she has been required to wear a mask in a majority of her classes since the beginning of the school year, saying some professors could apply to have masks mandated in their classrooms.

“Whether they were older professors or had someone in their family that was at risk, they just didn’t want to take that chance,” Jones said.

ACU President Dr. Phil Schubert said that the university gave the professors the option to apply for a mask mandate at the beginning of the school year, and saw 40% of classrooms require masks.

“This change in recent policy is taking that other 60% and moving it to a required mask situation,” Schubert said.

Schubert said the university hasn’t seen a spike in cases, sitting at 50 active currently, but saw how great of a risk it could be with cases rising throughout the city.

“While cases can climb very rapidly, they can also decline very rapidly,” Schubert said. “We thought that it would be good for our community to know that while we are adding additional restrictions, we will review those in a couple weeks to see where we are.”

Schubert released a statement on the university’s website that said masks will be required in all classrooms, labs, studios and other instructional spaces, including chapel gatherings. It also said that students will not be allowed to eat in the classrooms, as well.

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