Reese Chatman, Campus Carrier features editor

It was not too long ago when the world was turned upside down by an unprecedented pandemic. With Covid-19, came new ways of life that many are still not entirely used to. With rising cases and even deaths in early 2020, many turned to mask wearing as a way to “slow the spread.” However, even since the beginning of the pandemic, something as seemingly harmless as mask wearing has become a controversial issue in not just the world of politics, but everyday life as well. Over the course of these past few months, mask wearing has undoubtedly been on the decline, on both the left and the right. However, one would be hard pressed to spend an extended amount of time in a public setting and not see at least one individual still wearing a mask. In this week’s features issue, the Carrier is seeking to take a glimpse into both sides of the mask debate and find any sort of common ground.

Why I don’t wear:

Courtesy of Addie Blake

Junior Addie Blake used to wear a mask in public, but chooses now to not wear one.

“I used to wear a mask all the time”, says Junior Addie Blake, “especially when Rome had its highest Covid rates.” Personally, I feel like we know enough about it now. The strain isn’t as strong as it was.”

Addie also touched on how she views Covid through the lens of different age groups, saying, “For people my age, I just don’t feel like I have much of a purpose in wearing a mask. I actually just had Covid during the second week of school and it really only felt like a cold to me.”

Addie does not view those who wear masks in a condescending light, saying, “In the beginning, people had no idea what was coming or how much would make a difference. I think people who still wear masks are taking extra precautions which I see as a positive. I mean, I’m not wearing one so they are going the extra step to even protect me.”

Addie even compared her views on mask wearing to that of vaccines, another topic that has become quite controversial over the past couple years, saying, “I see masks how I see the flu vaccine. It’s not mandatory for anybody, but if you want that protection, you can get that shot every year.”

She continues saying, “Now that I have experienced Covid firsthand and have the antibodies, it gives me even less of a reason to wear one. I also have asthma and I felt like wearing one never helped with my pre-existing respiratory conditions. I may have not contracted Covid until this past week, but I feel like wearing a mask caused me to have a lot more problems with my asthma than I do now, like being dizzy and things like that.”

She then continued on her stance about the mandating of masks, saying, “If anything, I feel like those decisions should be left up to thecommunity, rather than on a governmental level, including the state. Like, say South Georgia is experiencing high Covid rates while North Georgia isn’t. Why would we have to wear masks then?”

On a lighter note, Addie closed her stance by saying, “Another reason I dislike masks is that I am a very expressive person and masks kinda limit that part of me.”

Why I wear:

Courtesy of Mykelle Patterson

Mykelle Patterson is a freshman whose family followed COVID-19 restrictions closely.

“In 2020, even when schools started to reopen, me and my family didn’t even go back,” says freshman Mykelle Patterson, “so my family was in quarantine for quite a bit.”

At one point, Mykelle transitioned from wearing a mask at all time she was in public, to wearing it less frequently, saying, “It was probably around my senior year of high school. Of course, being in school the entire time and wearing a mask is kind of hard, with going to the cafeteria, eating with people, and things like that. I did cheer as well, and I couldn’t really do things like yell in a mask, so I didn’t wear one then, but being in a setting with that many people, if I was walking to the concession stand or something, I’d put it back on, so it kind of just depended on the situation.”

Mykelle continued on the effectiveness of masks, saying, “I think they work. I definitely would agree with others that say it is still possible to wear it and still get Covid. Personally, I just don’t think it hurts me to just wear it, or at least try. I think that something is better than nothing. Even if it doesn’t work 100%, it’s just about making that effort for others.”

She reflects on thebeginning stages of the pandemic, saying, “I really think if people had always been more understanding of others and quarantining and following guidelines, all this could have been over.”

Mykelle does not think that the world, as it relates to Covid will ever return to how it was prior to the pandemic, saying, “I think Covid will be something that always lingers, but I do think we will get to a point where we will be able to fight it better.”

Mykelle does not view those who no longer wear masks in a negative light saying, “It’s really up to you. My big thing is to just be conscious of others. If you feel sick, it really doesn’t work to wear a mask. There is also free testing on campus, so you might as well take advantage of that.”

She also adds, “I actually contracted Covid over the summer, which was a time I had gotten very lax about wearing mymask.”

Mykelle acknowledges the controversy her stance can cause among certain groups, saying, “Some people get offended when I put my mask on. Sometimes I will be in a group setting without a mask on and it will gradually get more crowded. Then, I’ll put one on. Some people around me will sometimes think that I think they have Covid but it’s really not that. I’m just trying to be precautious.”

Posted by Campus Carrier

Leave a Reply