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To Mask or Not to Mask--Students Share Opinions on Masking Up for the Pandemic

Senior Kirsten Nye's mask collection. (Courtesy Photo)

By Hayley Rea--Eagle Assistant Editor

Since the start of the pandemic, one of the biggest controversies among our campus and community has been the decision to wear a mask or not.

“Wearing a mask can save lives,” said senior Layla Freeman.

Many students such as seniors Jaden Bernard and Kirsten Nye, and junior Ashleigh Dillon have voted for the use of masks for protection against the coronavirus.

“They’re used to protect the safety and health of other people,” Bernard commented.

Meanwhile, other students such as seniors Emilee Smith and Kaitlyn Ross, and junior Jocelyn Routt voted against the use of such measures.

“I can’t breathe. The evidence [that shows] the lowering of our [immunity] is crazy,” Smith replied.

Although wearing a mask is considered mandatory in the state of Virginia, many people have chosen to not wear them based on personal preference and beliefs.

“There is a 99% survival chance and 90% of the deaths have been from old people. With that knowledge, I refuse to live in fear of it,” explained senior Dominic Bowles on his stance against masks.

Seniors Rylie Turner (left), Jaden Bernard (middle), and Kaylee Meador (right) wear their masks in public. (Courtesy Photo)

An Instagram poll posted by a newspaper staff member showed 75% of students on campus voted for the use of protective face coverings, while 25% voted against their use.

“I believe when we wear masks it protects us and the people around us. When you choose to not wear a mask, you are putting yourself and others in danger, which is very selfish,” senior Taylor Spicer replied to the student Instagram poll.

According to Dr. Aaron Hamilton at the Cleveland Clinic, although “a cloth mask will not prevent you from breathing in respiratory droplets that carry a virus," it can “help to protect others from you if you happen to be infected."

“They are bad for your overall health. They do not actually help stop the virus,” senior Mason Dixon quoted from the Cleveland Clinic website.

Despite the conflicting research into both the advantages and disadvantages of wearing protective coverings, some students have chosen to focus on the more prominent research about the benefits and added feeling of safety.

“I think it helps, and even if it didn’t, it makes people feel safe,” said senior Luke Dye about the differing views.

However, the decision to wear them isn’t always so black and white for everyone.

“Truthfully, I feel like a dog in a muzzle. I respect the decision we have made to wear them, I just personally hate them,” Smith shared her thoughts.

For those who choose to wear masks, their reasoning may lie beyond wanting to protect themselves.

“Those who don’t wear masks simply because they ‘don’t want to’ are putting the people who can’t wear masks for health reasons and essential workers in danger,” senior Ally Bryant commented about the protection of those in her community.

Junior Ashleigh Dillon sports her mask in a bathroom selfie. (Courtesy Photo)

There are also people within our school community who have experienced the virus firsthand, leading to their personal decision about whether or not to wear a mask.

“I’ve had it twice. It feels like a common cold,” Bowles explained about his experience.

Although some students' Covid experiences were mild, others were quite the opposite, leading to their decision to be pro-mask.

"I lost my voice, sense of taste, and smell. My body ached constantly...and it was awful," Freeman commented about her contraction of the virus.

When it comes down to it, there are many factors that play into the decision to wear a mask. As more research about the virus and protective measures is released, perhaps we’ll see more people forming a consensus view.

“It’s not the best thing in the world, but it can definitely help overall,” Spicer concluded.

For information on mask producers in our community, click here.

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