A MODERN DAY ‘MASK’ERADE

Is mandatory mask wearing a political issue?

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Abby Landwehr

All extracurricular activities as well as in-school activities have required the participants to wear masks.

Life and death. A global pandemic. Families being ripped apart. A world hanging in the balance by just a thread. 

Since the dawn of COVID-19, face masks have been a source of debate and controversy for people across the country. For some it is a matter of public health, while for others it is a matter of politics.

Despite the guidelines implemented for public safety, many people still refuse to abide by the rules meant for their own safety.

“As we learned how easily the COVID-19 virus spread from respiratory droplets . . . it became clear that masks do decrease the rate for passing virus from one person to another person if standing within a close proximity,” Powell physician Dr. Dean Bartholomew, MD, said.  

Even if one shows no symptoms of COVID-19, they can still spread the virus.

“The current science shows that there are people who have contracted the virus and either they will not develop symptoms or they are in that window of time where the virus is replicating in their bodies and they haven’t become symptomatic,” Dr. Bartholomew said. “Wearing a mask should help to decrease the spread of the virus from an asymptomatic person to another person.”

At Powell High School, teachers believe all are doing a decent job enforcing the mask rule; however, they believe there is room for improvement.

“Teachers and students are trying to follow [the mask rule, but] sometimes I go out to the Commons area and I see kids not wearing masks,” Spanish teacher Mr. Brandon Preator said. He also said PHS could be doing a better job enforcing the rule.

Whether one favors conservatism or liberalism should not indicate whether you are pro or anti mask.

Sometimes I go out to the Commons area and I see kids not wearing masks.”

— Mr. Preator

“In America we are all-in on personal rights and freedoms and so when folks feel that untrusted entities are pushing in on their rights and freedoms they will resist,” Dr. Bartholomew said. “Going from asking and recommending to mandating mask wear has obviously caused this unfortunate politicization.”

Despite the majority of society working in unison towards the common goal of improved global health, there are still many who refuse to abide by the health guidelines. And disagree with several mandates. 

“I’m not a big fan of them, but we have to wear them,” PHS senior Noah Blough said. “In reality, these neck gaiters don’t do jack; they’re kind of overrated.” 

Blough added that he’s rather selective about whose lives he would wear a mask to protect from COVID-19.

“Depends on the people,” Blough said.

Either way, the school system could be doing a better job about enforcing the mask rule. So whether you lean red or blue, it’s better to just wear it on your mask.