BUTTE — Montana Tech in Butte and other state universities will be loosening COVID-19 protocols, including not requiring students to wear masks in classrooms.
“I think we’re trying to go back to normal is what we’re trying to do and I think that’s awesome,” said Montana Tech student Tyce Erickson.
Montana Tech released an email earlier this week stating masks will no longer be required by anyone on campus in classrooms or study areas. The decision was made due to a decline in COVID cases in Butte-Silver Bow County.
According to a statement from Montana Tech Chancellor Les Cook, “The university will continue to provide masks to those who choose to wear one and respect the wishes of those who do. The university will continue to provide free symptomatic testing of our students, faculty, and staff.”
Some staff members believe the policy change may be too soon.
“I know we’re all tired of COVID, I’m tired of Zoom meetings, I’m tired of lack of interpersonal interaction, but we need to get this thing under control so that in two or three months we’re not going to say, ‘oh, it’s out of control again, we’ve got to go back to the way we were six months or a year ago,’” said Montana Tech Professor John Ray.
Many students on the Butte campus welcome this new policy, especially losing the mask requirement.
“I’ve been wanting this, because then you get more connection with your professors and stuff, I view that, because you can actually put a face to their voice,” said Erickson.
Student Bailey Postma agreed: “Whenever I have my mask on, I focus more on breathing, but that’s just because I get sidetracked very easily and I’m like, I can feel my breath on my face. But now that we don’t have to wear the masks, I think it will probably help me focus a little bit more.”
The policy will go into place Wednesday.