WACO, Texas – Football season is in full swing at Baylor University – and while many are excited to get back in the stadium, some are still hesitant because of the high numbers in McLennan County.
It was a packed house at McLane Stadium, with over 40,000 people in attendance on Saturday as Baylor University hosted its first home game at full capacity in nearly two years.
While masks are not required, they are strongly encouraged – and this concerns many students.
“If you support wearing a mask on campus, or if you support not wearing a mask on campus, at the end of the day, it’s like, if Baylor is going to require all students to wear a mask in the class and on campus, then how come I don’t have to wear a mask at an event that’s literally associated with Baylor University?,” says student April Oddo.
Oddo took to Instagram questioning the logic of Baylor requiring masks for a ten-person class, but not at a football game with thousands of people.
She says her perspective has nothing to do with being anti or pro-mask. Her concern is the inconsistency in Baylor’s logic.
“I don’t think that students should be forced and required to wear masks at all times,” Oddo said. “Especially if I could go to McLane at full capacity, and sit there without one on.”
Baylor requires students, faculty and staff to get tested twice a week – unless they are exempt from the list because they are fully vaccinated or have tested positive in the past 180 days.
Student Charlie Wells says he understands both perspectives, and is 50/50 when it comes to wearing masks at the football games.
“Maybe they could do something where, like, they split in half,” Wells said. “Like, if you don’t want to wear a mask, you could go to ‘not wear a mask section’, but if you do, you can go where you are required to wear them.”
According to the university’s COVID dashboard, there are more than 80 positive cases on campus – with a positivity rate of less than two percent.
While Baylor University did not respond to our request for an interview, President Linda A. Livingstone released a newsletter prior about COVID protocols on campus:
“We continue to not have any evidence that the Baylor community is putting additional stress on struggling local healthcare resources, thanks primarily to your selfless service in getting vaccinated against the virus, completing twice-weekly testing if required and wearing facemasks in our academic classrooms and labs.”
Student Avery Clary says she feels comfortable walking around campus without masks, and the game because it’s outside.
“I still think that Baylor is doing an amazing job. Just kind of taking precautions in classrooms, and such things,” Clary said. “At the stadium, I personally still feel pretty safe.”