Winona State enforces COVID-19 regulations


Mohammed Islam

Elizabeth Peine; a WSU senior and Technical Support Center Employee on her way to class wearing a face covering by the Gazebo on Thursday, Sept. 3. Students and staff are now required to wear masks and social distance when on campus and anyone in violation of the regulation will receive one warning followed by severe consequences.

Kristin Kovalsky, Copy Editor

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the start of the new semester also brings new regulations. Students and staff are now required to wear masks and social distance when on campus and in campus buildings.

Those who do not follow these policies are now in violation of the student conduct code.

There is a form available on the Winona State website that people can fill out when they see someone in violation of the regulations.

Dean of Students at Winona State, Karen Johnson, said that the face coverings and social distancing non-compliance mask form was made so students could feel safe on campus.

“What we wanted was something that would help people feel better and make it easier to report when they saw students who were doing things that they know they shouldn’t have been doing,” Johnson said.

In order to report someone in violation, the reporter needs to know the offending student’s name. When a student is reported, the Office of Conduct and Student Citizenship determines the consequence for the student.

“In the Office of Conduct and Student Citizenship, we don’t like the sanctions so much. Our main mission is education,” Johnson said. “We prefer to help students understand what the expectations are and how they can follow them, rather than punishment; we don’t like to go there right away.”

Students who are in violation of the
regulation multiple times will face more consequence than just a warning.

“After one time, we will be more reactive and say, you need to think long and hard about whether you want to be at Winona State,” Johnson said. “We’re not kicking anyone out of school, we are not going to be that aggressive, but we might help students to think about it a little, which is to write a paper about why we wear masks or why we social distance.”

Johnson hopes that before Winona State has to enforce social distancing and face coverings, that it becomes a part of campus culture.

“What I like to see is role modeling. I like to see all students on campus wearing masks, and then the one person who isn’t thinks ‘oh, I’m not like everybody else.’ Peer pressure is a strong motivator for students,” Johnson said.

Students can be reported for violations both on and off campus. For example, someone can report a student if they see them at a party or large social gathering without proper social distancing.

“Winona State is located right in the middle of a community, and so we have to recognize that we live with our neighbors and we all need to be respectful of each other,” Johnson said.

Director of Security, Chris Cichosz, said that when security is notified of
non-compliance, they are educating students.

“If security is notified of people not following the guidelines of when masks should be worn, we are taking an educational stance. We are giving reminders for the state, city as well as institutional policy concerning wearing a mask,” Cichosz said.