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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Campus

UH students react as Texas prepares to lift mask mandate


Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday said he would revoke Texas' statewide mask mandate, leaving many students worried for the state of the coronavirus pandemic. | Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday said he would revoke Texas’ statewide mask mandate, leaving many students worried for the state of the coronavirus pandemic. | Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday that he is lifting Texas’ COVID-19 regulations, including allowing businesses to operate at 100 percent capacity and rescinding the statewide mask mandate.

Abbott teased a “big announcement” on Twitter 15 minutes prior to revealing his plans at a news conference in Lubbock.

“I just announced Texas is open 100 percent. Everything. I also ended the statewide mask mandate,” Abbott said in a tweet following the conference.

UH students expressed concern about their safety on campus and whether the University will be altering any protocols.

“If our campus were to follow the governor’s plan, I would feel much less comfortable about living and being on campus in general,” said organizational leadership and supervision junior McKenna Kemp.

Students also believe Abbott’s orders are ill-considered and hope UH does not adhere to the new orders.

“UH should set an example and encourage students to continue caring for one another by wearing their masks,” said journalism senior Ivan Duran Puente.

“I believe that it is highly irresponsible for Abbott to discourage wearing masks when doctors and scientists are advising the exact opposite.”

On the contrary, other students do not think that Abbott’s plan would affect those on campus.

“I wouldn’t be mad or anything because right now, not a lot of people are on campus and I think people will still have to wear a mask regardless,” said nursing junior Dillon Dinh.

For UH and many other public universities, this new order is still under review on whether rules will be adjusted yet, but they will be providing updates closer to when the mandate goes into effect.

“We remain committed to creating a campus environment that is as safe as possible and minimizes the spread of COVID-19. Faculty, staff and students can expect to receive more information before the order goes into effect. Until that time, our existing COVID-19 protocols remain in effect,” the University said in a statement.

Abbott’s order will continue to be in effect unless the hospitalization rate rises above 15 percent for seven consecutive days. However, he said no one can be prosecuted for failing to follow the newly instated protocols.

Whether or not UH does plan to act in accordance with Abbott’s plan, some students will continue to take precautions.

Despite many health officials warning against this, the rollback will go into effect beginning next Wednesday.

“Me and my friends are going to continue wearing our masks, considering none of us have been vaccinated and neither has 90 percent of the state,” Kemp said.

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