Confusion about COVID-19 policy: Do I have to wear a mask outside?
By Johannes Becht
Thursday, Feb. 4, 10:00 a.m., lobby of Oklahoma Hall: An entering SWOSU student is approached by a campus police officer with a request to have his mask on.
The student had put on his mask while entering the building - as most students do. But the officer went on to say that it was technically required to wear a mask throughout campus - even outside.
The officer later confirmed the encounter to The Southwestern. According to him, it is indeed policy to wear a mask on the "whole campus ground."
Is this true? Do SWOSU students have to wear a mask outside?
"I can see how students would want clarification with this question," Dean of Students Joshua Engle says. "SWOSU policy requires students to wear masks to maintain their safety except in previously designated circumstances (e.g., eating or drinking in the Union). While outside, students are not required to wear a mask unless they are within 6-ft of one another."
In other words: It is in fact required to wear a mask outside if a student is within 6-feet distance of another student. This, however, is not a general mask mandate for outside areas, as the officer said.
In addition to that, the rule to wear a mask if 6 feet from each other has never been made clear by the SWOSU administration. The SWOSU website only mentions a mask mandate inside the buildings.
Further, there are no reports of students getting into trouble for not wearing a mask outside if walking or hanging out with friends.
Engle: "Thus far, I have yet to receive a complaint or concern regarding outside mask wearing. Our students have listened to guidance and been very responsible when deciding to wear a mask and maintain safety."