APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Throughout Northeast Wisconsin, mask mandates are getting lifted as we move closer to a sense of normalcy.
But two years into the pandemic, Lawrence University in downtown Appleton still has an indoor masking requirement at its campus facilities, at least for now.
“I think it’s a little bit overly concerned with safety, there’s a point that I think we’ve reached where there is no real point to masking indoors,” said Tim Parker who is a student at Lawrence University.
“I still don’t mind it, I’m kind of used to it and it kind of feels weird to leave without a mask on at this point,” said Alec Welhouse another student at Lawrence University.
Welhouse said he believes masking has helped keep people safe throughout the pandemic. Beginning on Thursday, Lawrence University will no longer have a mandatory indoor masking policy on its campus.
Lawrence University is now a mask-friendly campus meaning that although masking is no longer required, anybody can mask if they want to.
The move comes about three weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its masking guidance by changing the metrics they use to determine how much COVID-19 is impacting a county.
Under the new guidance, the CDC classifies Outagamie County where Lawrence University is located as a low-risk county and doesn’t recommend masking indoors.
Lawrence University officials tell Local 5 News they look at CDC guidance when making COVID-19 related decisions on their campus. But they also consider other factors.
“Based on where we are at with our numbers now and the natural end of the term it made sense to make that transition (to no mask requirement) on Thursday,” said Rich Jazdzewski who is the Dean of Wellness Services at Lawrence University.
At ThedaCare, Doctor Montgomery Elmer said he is welcoming the lifting of mask mandates statewide.
“Being able to have the personal space to make that decision (on whether to wear a mask) is a small joy,” said Elmer.
He said while he’s happy that people will now have an opportunity to make their own decision on whether they will mask, he recommends that some people still mask when they are indoors. This includes people with compromised immune systems, those who have COVID-19 symptoms, and those who have been exposed to somebody with COVID-19.
He said although we’re making progress towards reaching an end to the pandemic, there is still work left to be done.