Friday, January 7, 2022

Mask mandate back at Allen Fieldhouse; chancellor warns crowd size may be limited if compliance wanes

Allen Fieldhouse as seen from above during the first half of KU's home game with George Mason on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022.

Allen Fieldhouse as seen from above during the first half of KU's home game with George Mason on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022.


Updated at 11:13 a.m. Friday

The University of Kansas’ chancellor is warning fans that KU may limit attendance at basketball games at Allen Fieldhouse if fans don’t start doing a better job of wearing masks.

Chancellor Douglas Girod on Friday sent a message to the campus community reiterating that Douglas County’s new mask mandate does include Allen Fieldhouse. The fieldhouse previously had been under a mask mandate as part of KU policy, but then over the last two weeks lifted the mandate for the fieldhouse in favor of a recommendation that fans wear mask.

KU leaders have yet to explain why they were comfortable lifting that mask mandate, but Girod on Friday said KU leaders had noticed poor compliance with the mask mandate as the fall semester progressed.

In Friday’s message, he said fans should be clear on the fact the mask mandate is back for the fieldhouse and that it needs to be followed.

“I want to be very clear how important it is that fans adhere to the mask policy within Allen Fieldhouse beginning with our next women’s home game on Saturday, Jan. 8, versus Oklahoma and our men’s game Tuesday, Jan. 11, versus Iowa State,” Girod said in his written message. “The reality is, if the situation in our county continues to deteriorate, and if mask wearing continues to be a challenge inside the Fieldhouse, likely next steps include closing concessions and reducing fan attendance for men’s basketball games.”

The mask policy inside the fieldhouse has allowed fans to have their masks off while actively eating or drinking. Closing the concession stands theoretically would mean fans would need to wear their masks at all times, and would make it easier for KU officials to definitively spot people who are not adhering to the policy.

KU men's basketball coach Bill Self supported the chancellor's comments at a press conference Friday morning.

“I don’t think that’s a threat. I think that’s reality," Self said of the chancellor's warning of reduced crowd sizes and other changes. "Nobody wants this. But the fact that the surge is happening and we’re dealing with it and the CDC has given their guidelines and municipalities have given their guidelines, we need to adhere to caution.”

Self said he's preparing to make changes to his mask-wearing routine during games, if needed.

“I’m going to coach in a mask if that’s what the mandate says I do," Self said. "And I certainly won’t complain about that if that’s what the rules are.”

Girod said the new mask mandate for Douglas County should not change many of the operations on other parts of the campus. While KU leaders had removed the mask mandate for Allen Fieldhouse, they had not ever removed the mandate for students, staff and visitors to wear masks in virtually all other campus buildings.

“Here at KU, we have had a strong culture of mask wearing and adherence to our mask requirement in our academic spaces,” Girod said. “This, coupled with our high vaccination rates among students and employees, has enabled us to remain on campus and be as safe as any university in the country.”

Girod said he was sympathetic with people who have grown weary of the pandemic requirements, but urged the KU community to remain vigilant, and he encouraged everyone to get vaccinated and get a booster shot.

“We recognize the pandemic has taken a toll on each of us, and we are all weary,” Girod said. “But the virus continues to impact our community. Now is the time to renew our efforts – both on campus and throughout the county – to protect our community. I know I can count on you to do this, beginning with mask wearing in Allen Fieldhouse.”

In-person classes are scheduled to restart on the KU campus for the spring semester on Jan. 18.


Michael Leiker 5 months, 4 weeks ago

“Strong culture of mask wearing” couldn’t imagine a worse marketing slogan.

Ted Hume 5 months, 4 weeks ago

no sht. What it says is: "sure, i respect and care about my fellow human beings and the public health". Why exactly is wearing a mask so hard for some people? It's pretty fing easy to do. you can probably learn how to place a mask on your face on the internets if it helps. try Youtube...

Sae Thirtysix 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Agree ML, slogans no value at this point.

The candle that burns twice as bright burns twice as fast, but in the case of Omicron, it might be 4x brighter and faster.

As always, there are highly thoughtful individuals trying to predict what next– as Omicron fades, what will happen?

And as usual, there are very wide error bars, but it is possible to postulate a few possible scenarios:

Beginning of the end – start of endemic COVID, Omicron never leaves.

“Endemic” would look like a virus that continues to circulate and never quite fades away - in which case we would see a steady rate of Omicron as it bounces around providing little “immune boosts” for most people. Case rates remain high as long as we’re testing asymptomatic/mild people, but severity keeps declining and we’re out of this. So, smart people are hoping South Africa plateaus, also Denmark.

In the middle– Omicron fades, another variant appears

If Omicron truly disappears (not just because we aren’t testing), then immunity will likely start to fade across the population, and we may be vulnerable to a new variant, in which case we’ll have to figure out how to get ahead of it with optimal vaccines (something which has been a challenge thus far). Another reason to be watching South Africa and Denmark closely.


In theory, Omicron could fade but leave most people with “super immunity” – in which case Omicron is gone and our boosted immune systems keep us safe from complications from new variants and COVID generally goes away. Not sure how that would work for immune compromised people though – could they require chronic antibody prophylaxis? It's possible.

In between/unknown

Plenty of other scenarios could play out, including mixes of 1-3. Meaning, as with the last year of this, we just have to wait and see what happens and keep an open mind. (ie, remove narsasscitic behaviors and stop relying on search engine algorithms from Sil Valley for information and elimination of thought via canceling thoughtful discussion)

Rodney Crain 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I would point out Sae how many of your points are wrong, fantasy and just plain wrong. But you are leading the Lemmings to the cliff. Please keep posting. In your own misguided way you are actually helping to cull the herd.

Thank You I guess.

Spread away, lead by ignorance, and by all means never change.

Steven Haag 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Because masks DON’T work. It’s been proven. Businesses that had 100% mask compliance were still getting it and spreading it. Does it help? Probably.....a little bit. But for people to think wearing a mask will bring this virus to its knees is delusional at best. Not for or against them; just stating facts.

Tim Orel 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Masks are part of the overall plan to combat the spread of the virus. They have never been the sole solution, but masks, vaccines and social distancing are all important components. In addition, there are isolation if symptoms are found, testing if symptoms crop up so that isolation is followed, and washing hands with soap and anti-bacterial solutions.

There are also now recommendations to not use just cloth masks, but to use masks with N95 designations because of their ability to stop transmission better than the cloth masks. KN95 masks don't have standards they adhere to, so some are better than others. N95 masks and (IIRC) South Korean N94 masks are the best, most common types (short of using gas mask types).

And yes, places with mask requirements do have statistically lower cases of Covid than places without the requirements -,70%25%20reduced%20risk. for some examples of studies.

Shannon Gustafson 5 months, 4 weeks ago

How were they accounting for proper mask wearing vs pulling it down under their nose?

How were they accounting for what those employees were doing outside of work?

Rodney Crain 5 months, 4 weeks ago

​Steven I support you not wearing a mask. Actually Dirk too.

I don't mind that you do not understand why it is part of the solution. At some point it is impossible to help you folks understand why because you will never get it. As we can see below Dirk is way past this.

I support your decision to walk among the others who agree with you. Where you can. Deep breaths if you want, go for it.

All I ask is for you, Dirk, (any of the it does not work folks) to stay away from the rest of us. More than 6 feet though, like in your own rooms and places. We will be fine from a health standpoint. We will face the L and F variants that are on the way, any others that come at us. Get more shots, wear masks, deal with the fallout and the restrictions, you know the silly things you are causing because you are not going to do it any more.

It's a fast track evolution exercise now. Which group will emerge and survive? A lot more folks are going to die, but freedom comes at a price, right?

We others can wait I guess till the virus mutates to a version that, well, will clear the herd so to speak. Not herd immunity, it will be a clearing of the herd.

Personally I like our mask wearing chances, trusting in science and the proven results that seem beyond your grasp. But that is just me and the other 75% of the world. What do we know right? Silly sheep following a worldwide conspiracy.

Dive in Steven, I fully support your choice. Invite Dirk!

We can wait.

At least a little while.

Bville Hawk 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Rodney, you say: "I don't mind that you do not understand why it is part of the solution."

I think you need to define 'the solution.' News flash! There is NO government solution.

Rodney Crain 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Bville you can write, so you must be able to read, use a keyboard and connect to web sites over the internet. Everything you need to know is at your fingertips. I could point you on where to go, but if I do how will you ever learn to do things on your own?

Good Luck, hope you make it out the other side!

Larry Knzas 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Good news though, K thru 12 schools have it in hand:

Let us rejoice, for teachers unions have once again rallied to protect the futures of vulnerable children by demanding months of remote learning ,let me blow you away with these Crain facts:

1) It prepares them for life as adult drones staring at screens for hours: Google Experts agree, the one thing children need more of is screen time.

2) It will definitely not lead to a mental health crisis and surging suicides like it did last time: Additionally, it is sure to stop the spread of COVID-19, THIS TIME.

3) Face-to-face interaction sometimes leads to free thinking: We are well aware of the dangers caused by free thinking, aren’t we comrade Rodney?

4) Slight reduction in wedgies: Incessant bullying will be limited to older brothers.

5) It's easier for the teacher to hide a Bloody Mary in her can of Diet Coke: And the little brats will stop asking why she smells like booze.

6) Representatives from the teachers union stopped by with some very convincing points: A few points included lead pipes and shattered patellas.

7) It didn't work last time, and why change what didn't work?: This is the official motto of the U.S. Department of Education.

8) The perfect transition to homeschooling: Plus, it will usher in traditional family structure as women are forced to abandon the workforce.

9) Eases kids into eventually being plugged into the matrix: It’s inevitable, but at least the steak will taste nice and you’ll know Kung Fu.

10) Fewer Chicago kids will get shot on their way to school: Actually, this one makes sense

Marc Frey 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Mask stop the virus as easy as a chain linked fencecstops a marble from passing through. Might get one or two droplets. But we have had two years of masks and social distance. Hows that working out? And I am on day 14 from getting the Omnicron virus.

Tim Orel 5 months, 4 weeks ago

I hope you recover fully. The world needs Jayhawks and their fans.

I keep posting links to actual scientific, peer-reviewed research by folks who've devoted their lives to studying virology, doctors and other researchers. Masks do help. I keep wondering where the research is that says that masks are useless. Well, at least the scientific research, not links to facebook posts, which is beyond what I have even seen as replies.

Rodney Crain 5 months, 4 weeks ago

​Marc you are an adult right? Omni targets the upper respiratory for infection (not a lower respiratory infection, like a and d), that adults can fight better than children. If you received the vaccine, some of the main proteins are the same so it has helped. A booster shot even more. A mask keeps you from spreading it, not from someone not wearing a mask to spread it to you. Why masks are recommend for everyone. Not just some. Some does not work.

Hope you get better.

Dirk Medema 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Social distancing. 6’ right?

Remember when that was required because of the droplet nonsense.

That was right around the same time they were telling everyone to put random pieces of cloth over their face because of the same droplet nonsense.

At that time, we were told not to wear the N95 masks. There weren’t enough effective masks so we got nonsense and endless drivel trying to substantiate the emperor’s new clothes.

I’m not complaining. Just pointing out what isn’t obvious for some.

Dirk Medema 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Tim - Where is the comment that masks are useless?

Unfortunately, this is a common response paradigm; Proposing an implausible extreme. It’s as if the implausible extreme is invalid (obvious) somehow validates the person’s proposal.

The question isn’t whether masks are useless or not. The question is whether they are effective enough to justify the mandates. I looked for a long time for scientific research to document the effectiveness of masks. The most common thing I found were discussions that referenced/linked the CDC with the link being to a general page that wasn’t topically specific or just a dead link.

The reality is there is no possible scientific research for the efficacy of masks. Scientific research is based on repeatable testing of a hypothesis. Masks are so loosely defined it’s impossible to have repeatable testing. It is entirely possible to churn out nonsense to support the emperor’s new clothes and that has been going on and on for almost 2 years.

There was a great example on the news tonight (BBC) in response to the supreme court’s consideration of vaccine mandates. They asked a medical expert if they were effective. He said the research showed they were effective because it pushed people on the fence into compliance. Nothing about whether the mandates were effective at reducing CV transmission. Conformance was the object of effectiveness not health.

Just nonsense and more clothes for the emperor.

Rodney Crain 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Oh Dirk, this post is priceless.

Please keep doing this. Please!

Right now the Doctors who know what to do and what is happening have stated that they see Covid lasting through 2023. 2 more years. We will go through 2-3 surges of variants per year.

The only way, the only way to stop the merry-go-round is to:

  • stop international travel, for a year
  • restrict crowds, in country travel, shut down schools, full lockdowns during any surge.
  • 100% vaccinated, work from home, protect food supplies, close all borders

A few countries are close to reaching these changes.

In our country this will never ever happen. The only way we stop spinning is to cull the herd. There is no herd immunity either. It resets with each surge.

Its going to be a long and bumpy road. I am more than ready to ride out the storm ahead.

Tim Orel 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Dirk, the comment was from Steven Haag who said "Because masks DON’T work. It’s been proven." I provided a link to a page which had multiple examples provided by the CDC where masks were studied as to whether they helped or did nothing to the spread of Covid and time and again they were able to prove that masks DO help stem the spread. I can't help it if you can't follow the link to the web page and then read the studies, or even the summaries of them that are provided. I went to an excellent high school in Kansas (Lawrence High) and took multiple classes from excellent teachers (Stan Roth, especially) and then I went on to get BS and MS degrees from public universities, so maybe I learned how to research scientific studies. Again, I'm not saying they're 100% effective. I'm not saying they're the only thing needed to stop Covid. Scientists have on multiple occasions concluded that masks help reduce the spread of Covid and since there are so many people resisting wearing masks because of whatever reasons they fear, mandates have become the way of trying to get people to use this means of keeping not only themselves but the rest of society healthier. I don't know what scientific background you might have, but I'll take the word of people who've dedicated their lives to studying these issues. The conservative Supreme Court justices proved through their questions that they believe Faux Noise non-scientists and their propaganda and not scientists.

Dirk Medema 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Rodney - It doesn’t matter whether Steve and I or anybody else that doesn’t agree with you stays away. That’s been documented by the navy, and the ship with the 100% vaccination status that had an outbreak.

I must say though, the emperor’s new clothes do look good on you.

Rodney Crain 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Not true Dirk, but please keep beating your drum

Dirk Medema 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Hmmm, “a fast track evolution exercise”?

It would seem this implies that people that don’t get the vaccine, wear masks compulsively, … will die off. Unfortunately, it also seems oblivious to the other possible implications of repeated vaccinations and everything else. There is so much collateral damage that I can easily agree that it could very well be a fast track evolution exercise. So much collateral damage.

Rodney Crain 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Not true Dirk, please please please keep spreading your foolish information. You are helping with every post.

Never stop being you Dirk. You are very amusing.

Bville Hawk 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Dirk, all good points. As I've said before, our leaders are playing wack-a-mole with a virus. And it's a fact of life that people get viral infections and some die of viral illness. Vaccines against polio, smallpox, MMR are one of the miracles of 20th century medicine. Sadly the covid vaccines to date do not perform nearly as well but that's probably to be expected given the fluid evolving ability of the corona virus.

It's time for our leaders to admit the obvious: they can't stop the virus and they can't protect us.

If you want to wear a mask and remain 6 feet away from other human beings for the rest of your life that is your choice. You are STILL going to become infected at some point, it is really inevitable.

Rodney Crain 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Amazing how wrong you are.

It is quite an achievement.

Thank You BVille you are really helping!

Tim Orel 5 months, 3 weeks ago

For one example, it took 200+ years to eradicate smallpox down to the 2-3 labs where there are still samples of it. It still killed thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of people over that time, but eventually it was ended as a disease. It's ridiculous to assume, even with today's advances in medicine, to expect to stop Covid, especially with so many people unvaccinated and helping to spread the fast spreading and mutating disease, in a matter of a little over a year. I am glad we don't throw up our hands and give up as you seem to recommend. I will continue to wear a mask and do what I can to remain distant from others because I like living and I don't want to catch a disease that seems to cause a horrible death to some and major organ damage to many more that becomes a lifelong disability. All I ask is that people don't keep spreading this disease which is not a big thing to ask. The combined measures of vaccines (and yes, they're changing and improving as new variants are discovered), masks and distancing are not impositions on your freedom, but they're efforts at allowing people to circulate freely and live healthy lives. Only selfish, uncaring people insist on not wearing masks, not getting vaccinated (unless they have a reaction to the vaccine) and it's really the horrible people who insist that their right to infect others trumps people's right to remain disease free.

Dirk Medema 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Bville - Well said. I would also add that a lost fact is what I believe was a $5B price tag on the original vaccine. Maybe that’s part of the reason for the continued push for vaccinations here while many other parts of the world go unvaccinated. For talking points though, let’s just continue with the “free vaccination” mantra. It goes well with free medicine, free college, free phones, and free everything else.

As for solutions, I believe part of President Biden’s campaign platform was a federal government solution. At the time, the governors of some states were telling the federal government you can’t tell us what to do. Was it 6 months? 8 months? For President Biden to publicly announce there was no federal solution? For those unable to connect dots, that’s the President saying my campaign was just more of the nonsense.

There are likely some that will respond with “that’s wrong.” So be it. Cull the herd.

David Kelley-Wood 5 months, 3 weeks ago

So, the chancellor is saying limitations may be placed on crowd size if compliance with mask mandates "wanes." I haven't been in the Fieldhouse for many years, and don't know if there's been a time since the COVID-related attendance limitations were lifted that mask wearing was mandatory (i.e., to the extent that people were ejected for non-compliance). Has there yet been such a time? If not, then it remains to be seen whether the threat of a strictly enforced mask mandate may itself have a limiting effect on the crowd size, as some people, particularly those who might otherwise have to purchase single game tickets, might just say "screw it." Just wondering.

Incidentally, my wife and I reside in Wuhan. We were here from the outset of this global debacle. Personally, I've spent 50 days in quarantine (all during one return trip from the U.S.), despite never testing positive for the virus, and I've been tested approximately 50 times. I guess we're all entitled to our views about the virus and the policies related to it, but for my money, incompetent political leaders, like pond scum, have a definite tendency to float to the top.

Shannon Gustafson 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Living in Wuhan, what's your thoughts on the origin of the virus? Naturally occurring? Wet Market? Lab Leak? I know people can't opening discuss such things over there (particularly if they are talking about lab/government involvement) but what's the word in private?

How accurate do you think the infection/death number China provided are? The assumption here has been that they massively under-reported (and continue to do so).

David Kelley-Wood 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Shannon, unfortunately, I don't trust that my views, if I were to put them in writing, might not be ratted out by some lurking leftist drone. Sorry. However, because I just naturally like to piss off as many people as possible, let me say that I consider Fauci Adoration Syndrome (and similar variants found outside of America) to be a greater threat to worldwide health and happiness than the virus.

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