The end of the mask mandate: a breath of relief

2022 Satire Issue

Students wearing masks on campus. Photo retrieved from

Maia Voegel, Starbucks Junkie and Proficient Procrastinator

On Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, a press release was made by Governor Pritzker saying that on Feb. 28, the indoor mask mandate would be released for all businesses and buildings except for medical buildings and public transport. This included higher education across the state of Illinois as well. Lake Land College (LLC) therefore followed suit and allowed students and faculty the option on whether to wear masks or not. 

In the press release on Feb. 18., state officials stated, “With statewide COVID-19 hospitalization rates declining faster than any other point in the pandemic, Illinois is on track to lift the statewide indoor mask requirement on Monday, February 28, 2022… The state reaches this point with more than 21.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered to Illinois residents. Per the CDC, Illinois continues to lead the Midwest in people who have received at least one shot.” The decreasing case numbers and hospitalizations plus the increase of vaccine numbers is what led LLC and Governor Pritzker to be able to safely make this decision. 

According to Jon Althaus, Vice President of Academic Services, when asked about who makes the decisions regarding health protocols and the guidance given by the State of Illinois, “We have followed through the course of the pandemic, the state guidance on whether masks are mandated and testing mandates and what certain populations testing is mandated for. Primarily, the decisions that are made, based on the guidance from the state of Illinois, are made by the cabinet and the Emergency Operations Committee, which is comprised of the police staff, marketing department, public relations department,” as well as the people of the President’s cabinet. The Emergency Operations Committee comes into play when health emergencies, general emergencies and so on happen, and decisions need to be made quickly and efficiently. Emergencies like a worldwide pandemic or a tornado or snowstorm are all situations where the committee is called upon. LLC, when making decisions about health protocols, follows guidance given by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Coles County Health Department. “There is not necessarily a vote,” Althaus stated, “but there is a lot of discussion to try to come to a general consensus about the best ways to implement the decisions made.” Althaus continued, “A big bulk of what [Lake Land College and the Emergency Operations Committee] does is make decisions on how to best implement the guidance given by the Governor and the State of Illinois.” LLC and the Emergency Operations Committee try to make decisions based off guidance given by the state of Illinois about health protocols, with the best way to implement it in the day to day lives of students and faculty in mind. 

In the past in July of 2021, the mask mandate was released for a couple weeks because of case numbers dropping, and in that time period LLC did release the mandate on campus. But, once the case numbers went back up and the state guidance changed, LLC figured out how best to implement that on campus with students coming back for the Fall semester. This resulted in the mask mandate only being lifted for Lakers for a few days, and then being reinstated almost before anyone noticed. Later, when testing mandates and vaccine mandates came into the guidance, LLC followed them as well. 

Though vaccine mandates (and testing if not vaccinated) are still in place, the release of the mask mandate, after two years of wearing them in classrooms and around campus, is a breath of relief for many students and faculty and LLC as a whole. 

Facebook Comments Box