In early June, I dumped a bunch of cheap target masks into a trash bag amidst my spring cleaning. Not all of them, but still I figured I wouldn’t need so many. By August I was buying more after an email from the school informed the student body that they would be required for the first two weeks due to the threatening new Delta strain of COVID-19. Backlash in everyone’s favorite email chain, stolaf-extra, arose as people were frustrated with the reinstatement of masks. Obviously, we still had to wear them. Now more recently, the rule has been lifted, but you’ll see many students, professors, and other staff around campus still wearing them. Often in classrooms, professors take the lead and either simply require them or leave the decision to a vote and a discussion.
Initially, it’s easy to be frustrated with the continuous mandates. I’m vaccinated, socially distanced while it was necessary, wore my mask diligently, etc. But the problem is that not wearing my mask isn’t affecting me, it’s affecting everyone else. I’m young, healthy, and rarely around anyone who is not, but can still spread the Delta variant if I were to catch it. However, many professors are in a higher risk age range and/or have kids at home too young to be unvaccinated. Furthermore, many people on campus have underlying health conditions we can’t always see. Because of this, I really like the solution of leaving it up to different classes and groups. Instead of a blanket requirement, have professors who feel unsafe or students are free to govern their own classroom and community. If everyone feels safe without them, let people take their own chances. I hate my foggy glasses as much as the next person, but I’m still going to mask up when it would make those around me more comfortable.
Bekki Antonelli is from
Her major is computer science.