Lillian Hucke ’24  |   Published November 19, 2020

Masked-Up Campus

In a semester when face masks were part of the new normal, the campus community choice of masks was driven by safety, comfort and fashion.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Many Monmouth College students said they were annoyed at first when they realized they had to wear a face mask to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. But they eventually grew accustomed to a mask on their face, and it even became a kind of fashion statement. Monmouth concluded the fall semester with a cooldown period that started on Nov. 9 and lasted until the end of classes on Nov. 24.

“I felt it was necessary just because of all the paranoia going around,” said Marissa Logan ’22 of Elmhurst, Ill.

Educational studies professor Michelle Holschuh Simmons adjusted to mask life with pride because she said that it is her responsibility to keep herself and others safe.

“I see wearing a mask as my responsibility as a member of a community during this pandemic, and so I am happy to do so,” said Simmons.

Like Simmons, others adjusted to wearing a mask because they wanted students and faculty to remain on campus through the end of the fall semester, which is Nov. 24. Some students report that they have become so used to wearing a mask that it was not uncommon for them to continue wearing one when they were alone in their residence hall room.

“I see wearing a mask as my responsibility as a member of a community during this pandemic, and so I am happy to do so.”
Michelle Holschuh Simmons, educational studies professor 

Mitch Perez ’21 of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, said he adjusted to wearing a mask and did not let it affect his learning.

Dani Hagens ’23 of Aledo, Illinois, agreed, saying: “I am more used to wearing masks. They don’t pose as big of a distraction as they did at the beginning of the year.”

English professor Kevin Roberts said that wearing a mask has not affected his teaching, except for the occasional moment when his eyeglasses steam up.

Which mask to wear?

Many Monmouth students, faculty and staff wore reusable cloth masks this fall. That allowed them to wash and reuse their masks. Many students reported that they own on average six to 10 masks.

Hagens said she often chooses a mask based on comfort and style.

“I choose what masks to buy based mostly in comfort and how well they fit,” she said. “Daily, I choose my masks based on what matches my outfit.”

Same goes for psychology professor Carolyn Liesen, who said she has a collection of masks so she can match her masks with her outfits – or choose a mask that pops.

Most of the students and faculty interviewed put comfort as their number one choice in choosing a mask; then they would match their mask to their outfit. Then there is Camden Schmidt ’24 of Washington, Illinois, who said he wears the first mask he sees in his residence hall room.

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