Bring back the masks

Getting rid of the mask mandate is not the move

This month marks the two-year anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic shutting down NDSU’s campus. I can still recall leaving for spring break as a freshman, only to not return to campus for the rest of the academic year. I was ecstatic to come back to campus the next year and see my friends, although we were all masked.

With all the recent advancements that have come about, such as vaccines to help prevent serious illness and platforms like Zoom offering ways to connect, the future of campus life was looking bright. 

However, as of March 7, 2022, NDSU dropped its mask mandate in classrooms. While faculty members have the option to continue the requirement of masks in their class, I do not think many students will be happy to honor that expectation. 

In my in-person classes, three out of the five have professors that ask us to keep our masks on. These classes are in all different areas of my studies, and include communications, political science and women and gender studies. The main reason why my other two classes are not wearing masks is because they are art classes that take place downtown, with adequate room for social distancing. 

Lifting the mask mandate right now is not the move. After living on campus over spring break and seeing how quiet everything was, I can only imagine how intense the large influx of students is going to affect the germ pool.

Yes, Cass County’s Covid community level is currently designated as “low”, but students that are coming back from super spreader hotspots will be putting everyone at risk. Campus could have at least waited a few more weeks, but now only time will tell how fast the virus will be passed around.

There have been studies through Yale that have shown that school districts with masking policies were less likely to have Covid outbreaks. Although, with so many other requirements, such as vaccination, it is difficult to pinpoint which measure was the most effective or if it was a mix of them all. 

I do not believe that this is a political issue. Instead, I find it to be an issue of common human decency. I personally would like to live on a healthy campus in which students and employees want to do their part to keep others safe. I have family and friends that are high risk, and I want to help keep them healthy.

There is another, more trivial issue that I have with the mask mandate being lifted. None of you look like how I imagined you would. I have learned how to identify my classmates for the past two years on their eyes and voices alone, and I am absolutely startled by how you actually look. This is not necessarily a bad thing, just mildly uncomfortable. But I am sure we will all adjust with time.

I intend to keep wearing my mask. I have bought so many with different patterns in order to match my outfits. I like this fashion accessory. I believe that you should do the same. The mask is there to keep you healthy, not muzzled from your rights. If a piece of fabric really threatens you that much, then you have some personal reflecting to do.

If you refuse to take my opinion into consideration, please try to follow some of the CDC’s other risk reduction practices. These include getting vaccinated, practicing social distancing when possible, staying home when you feel sick and disinfecting frequently touched objects. If you think you have been exposed to Covid-19, or are experiencing symptoms, call the student health service at 701-231-7331. Testing is quick and free. 

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