Although shocking to believe, some people, referred to as “anti-maskers”, are protesting public mask requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite their already infamous reputation in the media, SU students and staff are speaking out against anti-masking trends.
Rojan Matthew, a sophomore Pre-Med student, believes that anti-masking is not a violation of one’s rights.
“Is it a violation of one’s rights? I would say no because I don’t think it is violating anyone’s rights. Yes, we have the right to express our feelings and emotion, but at the same time, it is very important to follow the rules for the benefit of the community.”
But why don’t anti-maskers feel the same?
Matthew believes that one’s experience, or lack thereof, may affect how thorough they are when following mask requirements.
“It’s their lack of understanding, knowledge or experience…,” stated Matthew.
Although anti-maskers are not respecting COVID-19 regulations, Matthew believes that most SU students are.
“Yes, SU students are taking social distancing procedures seriously. They do know the seriousness of COVID. They make sure they obey the rules and regulations to make sure they keep themselves and others safe,” explained Matthew.
“We’re all in the same boat. We’re all getting the same message.”
Dr. Mary DiBartolo, SU nursing professor and member of the COVID-19 Health and Safety Task Force, agrees that anti-masking is not a violation of one’s rights.
“We are in the midst of a global pandemic, and for the health and safety of everyone, we have to wear the mask when indicated, and correctly covering both the nose and mouth…” Dr. DiBartolo stated.
When asked about why anti-maskers are fighting the mask requirements, Dr. DiBartolo has several theories.
“There seems to be a small percentage of the population who believe that it is their right to not wear a mask even though we are experiencing a global health crisis. There have been some mixed messages in the media which have caused some confusion as well. The scientific evidence supports that wearing a mask does reduce the transmission of this virus.”
To avoid the spread of misinformation in the media, Dr. DiBartolo stressed the importance of using reliable sources.
“We just have to keep getting the word out from the CDC, NIH and other well respected health organizations, that wearing a mask, as well as social distancing and washing the hands, are the three key things that we can do to protect ourselves, our peers and our loved ones from this virus.”
Presently, Dr. DiBartolo believes a majority of SU students are following the COVID-19 regulations.
“On campus, I’ve seen the majority of people wearing masks; the SU students are doing their part…”
Although Dr. DiBartolo believes most students are following COVID-19 guidelines, she stresses the importance of continuing to follow such regulations.
“I think we all just have to work together, faculty, staff, students, everyone…”
“We have to protect ourselves and do the right thing.”
Like Dr. DiBartolo, many believe most SU students are actively following the regulations and guidelines to the best of their ability.
As previously emphasized by Dr. DiBartolo, “It is critically important to do the right thing and wear the mask.”
BY OLIVIA BALLMANN
Featured Image by Michael Cotterino