Girod: Still no mask mandate at KU; university in a ‘good place right now’ on Big 12 shakeup
photo by: Screenshot of Senate Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade and Consumer Protection hearing on Feb. 11
The University of Kansas continues to hold pat on two of the biggest issues in its world right now — masks on campus and a reorganization of the Big 12 Conference.
In a video message to the campus community, Chancellor Douglas Girod said Wednesday that KU has not yet seen information that has caused it to mandate masks be worn on campus. Instead, the university is sticking with its “strong recommendation” that everyone wear masks indoors while on campus.
“But it is a pretty fluid situation,” an unmasked Girod said on the video presentation. “We are following that closely and meeting regularly with our medical advisory team. Certainly those guidances may change in the next few weeks.
“Stay tuned to that. There certainly may be more updates coming.”
Girod’s comments largely are the same as when he briefly spoke to the Journal-World last week about possible mask mandates. However, since that time, Kansas State University — the second-largest university in the state — has announced a mask mandate for its campus as school starts later this month.
Staying tuned is also Girod’s advice on possible Big 12 Conference realignment. He made no mention of media reports Tuesday that said the Big 12 Conference was discussing cooperation or a possible merger with the Pac-12 Conference.
Rather, much as he did a week ago in speaking with the Journal-World, he said he expects Texas and Oklahoma to remain in the league for about four more years, until media contracts expire in 2025.
“We sort of anticipated there would be a shuffling of the deck about that time because that is when all the media contracts will shift,” he said. “We’re working closely with our colleagues at the Big 12. We are going to be very thoughtful about how we move through this process. Obviously time is on our side right here.”
Much as he did last week, Girod also noted the uncertain status of the NCAA’s role in college athletics as being a contributing factor to the large amount of change that is happening.
“Time is on our side to kind of sort through all of this,” Girod said. “I feel real confident about where we are positioned as a university. Stay tuned on that. That will continue to be a big conversation, but really no reason to panic right now. We are in a good place right now.”