Students successfully following mask guidelines


Maddie Loverich

Student Katie Phillips masked up on the way to class.

Maddie Loverich, Sports Editor

Students at Linfield University have been conscientious about complying with mask protocols, according to campus safety officials. 

Linfield Public Safety Emergency Management Coordinator Doug Cummins credits the ability to continue in-person instruction to the strong health policies in place and students continuing to follow those protocols. “For the most part, they’re doing okay,” Cummins said. “And they’re responding well if I talk to them about it.” 

Since students returned to campus in August, Cummins recalls only having to remind about half a dozen students about putting on a mask. He mentions that LPS officers are using these situations as educational opportunities, trying to convey that mask-wearing is essential if students want to stay on campus.

Students at Linfield continue to have the opportunity to attend class in-person, a luxury that few college students around the country currently have. There have only been five recorded COVID-19 cases since July 1 on the McMinnville campus, according to an email sent to students from the university on Monday. 

The same email said that Linfield’s nursing campus in Portland has “fewer than five cases”. This is the way that the school will report until the fifth total case, which is a strategy based on advice from health authorities to protect individuals’ privacy. 

Junior nursing major Taylor Wright said students at the Portland campus have done a fantastic job of wearing masks. 

Many nursing students are doing “clinicals,” which is when they get real-life experience putting their knowledge to the test on actual patients in a hospital. Wright said one of her roommates is currently doing this, meaning she is at the Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center for many hours a day. 

“She wears a mask whenever she steps out of her individual room in our apartment,” Wright said about her roommate. “It’s really selfless, especially after having to wear multiple layers of protective equipment all day long.” 

When students first arrived on campus in August, the face-covering policy allowed students to take off their mask if they were outside and social distancing properly. That quickly changed, and the next announcement in early September stated that masks must be worn anywhere on campus, regardless of distancing and even outdoors. 

Junior Brian Pullman believes students responded well to the new rule, saying “we seem like we were an overly cautious campus, even before we had to wear a mask outside.”

Pullman is a first-year RA in the HP apartments. It’s proven to be an interesting first year, as RA’s face a difficult role enforcing mask-wearing among students. Above all else, they aim to be role models to the student body. “I was wearing masks outside before [the outdoor mask mandate],” Pullman said. “Just because I felt personally inclined to set that precedent.”

Similar to campus security’s approach, Pullman said RAs all have to “remind people and do it in a nice way, because doing it abrasively will only make them not want to do it even more.” Some of his favorite ways of reinforcing behavior is by thanking those wearing a mask or gently asking students to please put a mask on. 

RA’s and campus security have the ability to write up non mask-wearers, and these cases are sent to the Peer Conduct Board. There, fellow students decide the outcome. 

One student, who wished to remain anonymous, recently went in front of the board for a minor mask-wearing offense. He said that they had to take a quiz online about why wearing masks was important and send proof of completion to the board. 

As the pandemic continues to reach new highs in Oregon, students must continue to be vigilant about wearing masks and following distancing rules within campus housing. Deciding whether or not to follow these guidelines today? Just remember: remaining on campus and learning face-to-face is a privilege, not a guarantee.