Cougar Care Team Approves New Face Masks


A group of students pose for a photo with their new masks on. Victor Vendetta, Cougar Care Team member, said the students’ response on the new masks has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

Stephanie Queen, Reporter

The Cougar Care Team has approved a new set of face masks for the 2021-22 school year.

Any standard Halloween mask, including those  that go over the head and only over the face, will be permitted as long as the mask covers the nose and mouth completely.

The approval comes after team members conducted a survey to find out how satisfied students felt with how the university is handling the COVID-19 pandemic. They noticed several comments about wanting more variety in the type of face masks allowed, according to Victor Vendetta, Cougar Care Team member and junior government, law and national security major.

“We realize that having to wear the same old face masks for a year is getting kind of annoying for students, so we decided to add these masks to keep things interesting and bring the excitement back into wearing masks,” Vendetta said.

Vendetta believes that the new masks will not only directly grant students’ wishes but also make campus livelier and more fun.

“I barely hear anyone laughing anymore when I walk around campus these days and that really messes with the vibes on campus. I’m hoping being able to wear these fun masks will put some pep back into people’s steps,” he said.

Penelope Wise, sophomore early childhood education major, said she was thrilled when she received the announcement.

“For me, Halloween is a year-round celebration, but I haven’t gotten many chances to wear any of the masks in my collection this past year,” she said.  “I’m looking forward to being able to show up to campus every day looking like a clown.”

Senior physical therapy major Michelle Myers thinks the masks will cause more harm than good.

“Who knows what ideas people will get once they put these new masks on,” she said. “The pandemic has shown us that if you wear a mask for long enough, it starts to become part of who you are and if people are walking around wearing masks from ‘The Purge,’ chaos could erupt.”

Members of the faculty also expressed their worries about the new masks. Dr. Theodore Krueger, anatomy professor, said he thinks allowing new masks will cause “uncontrollable distractions” in the classroom.

“I’m usually pretty good at calming down the students when they get rowdy, but if they see their friends and peers in funny masks all class, they’ll never pay attention to what I’m saying. It’ll kill the entire learning environment,” he said.

History professor Annabelle Ivers shared Krueger’s worries, saying she is concerned it will have a negative effect on the students who are trying to learn.

“No two students are alike, and some of them take their education very seriously,” Ivers said. “It would haunt me for the rest of my life to think their education was being sacrificed for mere entertainment.”

Vendetta said he’s not worried about any of the concerns faculty have about the new masks.

“I’ve sat around for hours thinking of the possible negative effects, but I’ve come up with nothing,” he said. “Sure, an uprising could start, but since when did a little anarchy ever hurt anyone?”

At least one faculty member is overjoyed at the new mask variety. “It’s the Jason hockey mask all the way,” said Mel Smith of the mass communications and design department.

Matt Hampton, junior business administration major, studies outside in his new face mask. The university approved a new set of masks in order to help make the campus more lively.

Vendetta said wearing Halloween masks won’t be mandated for everyone, which he believes addresses any issues that could come up.

“We’re thinking of the students who might wake up one day and not want to wear a

medical or cloth face mask. Students who have some kind of vendetta against Halloween don’t have to participate. It’s that simple,” Vendetta said.

He is looking forward to seeing how creative people get with their new masks.

“I think it’ll be good. In fact, this a great chance for students to express themselves artistically and really put the arts back into our liberal arts university.”