Within the United States, there has been controversy over policies that enforce wearing masks in public. Although the federal government urges people to wear masks, policies vary in different states.
The CDC recommends civilians cover their faces with homemade masks. Many stores, such as Costco, require people to enter with facial coverings. Most of the public opposition to these types of policies have been about there being an individual choice about wearing a mask.
“Although I do wear masks, I have mixed feelings about this matter. At this point, I wear it more to be courteous to others who may be more sure of the need to wear a mask. It’s hard to justify backlash about procedures around masks, etc., but the reality is that everyone is doing their best to understand what is happening,” said Mr. Sebastiaan Blickman, a history and foreign language teacher.
For some people wearing a mask out in public seems to be a way to feel safe. Wearing a facial covering is a relatively accessible way for any person to have personal protective equipment.
In New York, wearing a mask in public is mandated.
“I personally still use masks when I’m with anyone outside my immediate family because even if I know that they almost definitely don’t have corona, I don’t want to take any risks. I feel that the U.S.’s sudden policy reversal of advising citizens to wear masks put us in a good direction,” said Oscar Yan ’22, a student in New York.
Similarly, Kristina Huang ’22, a student in California, agrees with policies that encourage people to wear masks in public.
“I think it is absolutely absurd that people are protesting the virus and all the associated guidelines. [These policies] are a necessary means to prevent the death of thousands of people, including healthcare workers,” said Kristina.
The mandated wearing of masks has been made a political issue. The policies themselves are concerned with public health rather than freedom of choice, but that is where the national discussion has become about.
Mrs. Jennine Solomon, associate director of innovation and science faculty member, expressed that she understands where people’s discomfort comes from when wearing masks, but does not understand people who protest against policies or recommendations that are rooted in science and safety.
Janus Yuen ’21, who is currently living in Texas, also advocates for listening to science experts’ opinions. “They certainly know much more about the spread of diseases than we do,” said Janus.