College ends mask policy


Desiree Gutierrez

Mildred Kelley, Dallas College Brookhaven Campus lead nurse, continues to wear a protective face mask on campus.

Josh Drake, Copy Editor

After a nearly year and a half of being locked down due to the pandemic, Dallas College fully opened to the general public without a mask mandate June 1.

Previously, Dallas College required masks as a safety protocol and urged compliance, according to an April 6 email sent to employees from Sharon Davis, chief critical response officer.

Dallas College safety protocols were changed to comply with Executive Order No. GA-36 issued by Gov. Greg Abbott on May 18 stating no government institution can require any person to wear a mask or a face covering.

In a collegewide May 24 email, Davis said Dallas College would shift gears to be in compliance with Abbott’s executive order.

Mildred Kelley, Brookhaven Campus lead nurse, said, “Since the governor has lifted the mask mandate, it gives each individual the opportunity to make their own decisions about wearing a mask or not.”

Progress in vaccination rates lowered the public’s angst as more individuals became eligible since immunization campaigns began in late December. As of July 4, 41% of Texans were vaccinated, according to The New York Times.

“COVID has not been eradicated,” Kelley said. “The old saying ‘time will tell’ is true with COVID.” Handwashing, social distancing and refraining from going out in public while experiencing symptoms will keep more people safe.

In the May 24 email, Davis said the wearing of a mask or face coverings cannot be mandated or requested by any Dallas College employees.

Davis said: “You cannot require an individual to wear a mask to enter your office, conference room, classroom or any other area of a Dallas College facility or as a condition of accessing or participating in Dallas College classes, programs or activities. Persons who voluntarily choose to wear a mask, of their own volition, of course, may continue to do so and Dallas College will not interfere with any individual’s right to wear a mask or face covering, if they choose to do so.” Davis said this is applicable to all students, staff and faculty.

In a June 14 Facebook post, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Dallas County’s Public Health Committee lowered the county’s COVID-19 risk level to yellow for unvaccinated people.

The yellow risk level signifies a continued decline in daily confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases over 14 days, according to Dallas County response metrics.

Dallas College continues to monitor the outbreak of COVID-19 and its impact on the community with guidance from Dallas County Health and Human Services, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Then, on July 17, CBS DFW reported Dallas County officially hit herd immunity.

Only one documented case of actionable COVID-19 case was reported in June on Dallas College premises, according to the Dallas College COVID-19 Reporting dashboard.

Actionable cases are defined as cases where the “impacted individual visited a Dallas College location within two weeks of receiving a positive result.” Actionable cases within the previous 30 days are recorded on the college Clery Notices webpage.