Taking Sides: Masks SHOULD be Mandated in Schools

Cartoonist%3A+C.Noller

Cartoonist: C.Noller

Anna Childs , Opinion Columnist

  A mask mandate across all public schools would not only help keep the majority of kids enrolled in in-person classes, but could be potentially life saving for those with immunocompromised family and friends. While masks may be slightly uncomfortable to wear all day, the mild inconvenience is certainly worth the potential decline in COVID-19 cases across the country and a quicker return to our previous way of life.

  Public health experts widely agree that masks and social distancing are very effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus. As Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital notes, “…social distancing reduces the risk of transmitting the virus by 90 percent, and wearing masks decreases the risk by 65 percent.” With new and more complicated COVID variants on the rise, there is little we can do to prevent the worsening state of the pandemic in our country besides thoroughly encouraging and potentially enforcing both vaccinations and wearing masks. Myths continue to be perpetuated about the “dangers” of wearing masks, which only foster fear amongst the public and spread misinformation. Though some complain about discomfort caused by masks or the danger they pose to those with preexisting conditions, as stated by medical professionals in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Most people with underlying medical conditions can and should wear masks.”

  Those enrolled in public schools have a legal obligation to attend, and as the pandemic has continued, options for online learning are beginning to dwindle and are often inferior to in-person schooling. Most students opt to attend physical school to maintain their academic success. As no one can know the personal lives of all of their peers, it is the government’s responsibility to start mandating mask wearing in states at critical COVID-19 stages to ensure that everyone feels safe and accounted for. The student sitting next to you could have an asthmatic younger sibling who is unable to be vaccinated, and they deserve to be protected from potential exposure while they are just trying to get their education. Students can make their own choices within their state’s guidelines about personal responsibility outside of school, but should not be allowed to impede on the well-being of others who choose to be more cautious than them while in an institution of learning.

  This country is growing weary of the prolonged COVID-19 precautions, and there is no better way to return to a state of normalcy as quickly as possible than to comply with safe, scientifically backed measures for the time being.

Should Mask Mandates be Enforced at School?

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