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WSU students react to university’s decision to end COVID-19 restrictions, start petition

Published: Apr. 4, 2021 at 10:14 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Wichita State announced Friday it will no longer enforce masks, social distancing and mass gathering limits. The move is in line with Sedgwick County’s decision to end all local health orders, but the university said it still strongly encourages those practices. It’s also encouraging and offering the vaccine to students and staff.

Some students on campus Sunday said they’re not happy with the decision and feel it’s too soon for the university to stop enforcing COVID-19 health orders.

“We are really at the tail end of the pandemic not to mention the semester, it really wouldn’t be that much of an issue to continue the mandates,” Wichita State senior Will Frimel said.

One student is taking action, creating a petition asking the city of Wichita to pass a city-wide mask mandate.

“I completely respect that the university wants to be in line with local and state guidelines and what’s being advised by experts,” said petition creator Ella Perkins. “That’s why I think the Wichita city council passing a mandate is so important because it will allow the university authority to pass a mask mandate on our own campus to protect our students.”

In 48 hours Perkin’s petition has more than 300 signatures.

“We have mandatory attendance in-person classes that immunocompromised students are now going to be forced to attend with the knowledge that students are not required to wear masks and I think that is incredibly concerning,” Perkins said. “I’ve had dozens and dozens of students reach out to me with incredible concern.”

Students on campus Sunday said they just hope the university acknowledges their concerns.

“I know it’s a tough situation to be in but I hope they at least try and see what they can do and listen to what students and the community are asking for,” said Wichita State senior David Garcia.

Wichita State’s student senate also passed a resolution asking for the city to enforce a mask mandate.

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