Izzy Pipa

Wear masks to class when feeling sick

March 29, 2022

In the past two years, wearing a face mask became second nature to me. The best thing UVM students can do for the entire community and for themselves is to mask when sick.

Now I sit in my college apartment wondering if and how I will safely rejoin the world bearing the lower half of my face.

“We are pleased to announce that effective Saturday, March 19, 2022, masks will be optional in all indoor locations at UVM,” stated Patricia Prelock, provost and senior vice president, in a March 16 email to the UVM community.

With the mask mandate lifted, students’ vigilance about their health and exposure to illness is more important than ever. Despite wanting to return to normalcy, we are still responsible and need to protect ourselves and others.

The conversation about masks polarized the country into those who wear them and those who don’t. Personally, I feel disdain upon seeing the tip of a nose peaking out of a cloth covering.

Eastern countries adopted wearing masks for over 100 years, and remain using them to protect from air pollution and reduce the spread of germs, according to a Sept. 18, 2020 Huffington Post article.

Wearing a mask is an ethical statement to protect people’s personal health and show respect for others, according to the Huffington Post article.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, UVM remained consistent in its mask requirements for students, following whatever the Center for Disease Control recommendations are at the time, according to the UVM Forward website.

When deciding to return to in-person classes, the University established the Green and Gold Promise, a promise all students and faculty needed to sign to ensure the protection of personal and community health.

“As we transition to the endemic phase and move away from requirements or mandates, personal responsibility will play an increased role,” stated Prelock in the March 19 email.

In other words, stay home and wear your mask when sick. A return to normalcy does not mean a return to blissful ignorance about spreading germs throughout the community.

Multi-layer cloth masks block the release of exhaled particles into the environment, lowering transmission rates of respiratory born illness, according to the CDC.

Students should stay mindful of their roles in transmissions if they are exhibiting any signs of symptoms.

Whether it be COVID-19 or the common flu, take preventative measures to reduce transmission rates. Nobody wants to get sick and miss out on life now that things are getting back to normal.

It has to become a personal decision about being mindful of others, now that there is no rule forcing us to wear masks.

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