Taking Sides: Masks Should NOT be Mandated in Schools

Cartoonist%3A+C.Noller

Cartoonist: C.Noller

Henry Melcher, Opinion Columnist

  Vaccines are the ultimate solution to this pandemic, however masks are not. Vaccines are 96 percent effective at preventing serious illness while masks are vestiges from a bygone era of uncertainty. At this point in time, every American over the age of 12, soon to be five, is able to receive the vaccine. Masks were an instrumental tool in saving lives and lessening the impact on our health system. But now, masks stand as a deterrent for Americans who are unsure if they should get the vaccine. At this point in time, Americans have had ample time to receive their vaccine. If they get sick, it is their own responsibility, not the responsibility of the society to be liable for their poor decisions.

  The media portrays infections as the forefront of the COVID issue, even though the majority of those cases end with a mild cold. According to the CDC, from Jan. 1, 2020, to Oct. 13, 2021, 513 kids aged zero to 17 have passed away due to COVID-19. However, in the same amount of time, 1,018 children of the same age have passed away due to pneumonia. The bacteria and viruses that cause pneumonia spread the exact same way as COVID yet you have never heard about masks for preventing pneumonia-causing pathogens. Those same pathogens are similarly deadly to the older generations. But, they can only be treated after contraction because there is no vaccine. COVID is easily preventable with a vaccine.

  There have already been countries banning masks in school, most notably Sweden. Swedish towns and schools have banned masks, yet their cases have not spiked. Throughout the entire pandemic their philosophy has been: “Shield the vulnerable, and let the healthy live.” England has similarly not required masks in schools. Citing the CDC and the NY Times, England’s COVID cases had a spike in September following the beginning of school, but that spike eventually fell. England’s vaccination rates are only 10 percent higher than that of the USA. Overall, zero COVID cases will never be achieved, just like how we still have ebola cases, chicken pox, measles, mumps, bubonic plague, as well as HIV/AIDS, after years of fighting these diseases. The government must set a rhetoric of: “once you get your vaccine, your COVID journey is over. No more masks, no more social distancing, no more quarantining.” This will drive vaccinations, meanwhile requiring masks for everyone gives the illusion that there is no point in a vaccine.

Should Mask Mandates be Enforced at School?

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