Ever since COVID-19 broke out in the United States, masks have been a highly debated topic, specifically in the political world. At Southern Adventist University, students are required to wear masks at all times when indoors, whether it be in their dorm halls or in their classrooms.
I recently conducted a small survey about masks on my Instagram story. I received answers from about thirty students. My question to them was, “Are masks a necessity?” The overwhelming majority replied “yes”.
“The mask keeps other people safe,” said Lorne Owens, a sophomore history major living on campus this semester. “It’s to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which can kill.”
Students who replied yes in my survey expressed major concerns for their safety on campus. Since most dorm residents have come from out of state, many are worried about the school shutting down early and students being forced to move all the way back to their home states again. When asked why they believe masks are a necessity, junior public relations major Elise Deschamps said, “Because I don’t want to go home.” That seemed to be the sentiment amongst most students.
Of course, there were also some responses that differed from that of those who agreed with masks.
“They’re not going to prevent the spread and they’re annoying, but they’re better than nothing,” said Lila Odhiambo, a sophomore mass communication major.
“If the CDC recommends something, we should probably do it,” said Patrick McGraw, a junior english major.
In contrast to this, out of the 30 people surveyed, only two answered “no” in response to my question.
“It’s good to wear them, but necessity is a strong word,” said freshman mathematics major Sarah Kate Durichek.
However, there were also different perspectives on the topic. I asked sophomore marketing major Allison Bradley why she holds that opinion.
“I think it encourages a police state mentality…turning friends on friends to keep the law,” Bradley said. “Although in theory it’s a good idea, not everyone is going to follow. If people washed their hands and ate healthy, COVID would go away quicker. The CDC originally said masks didn’t do anything, but since COVID has been such a hot topic politically, they have retracted. In short, I believe masks are the thing we should be concerned about least.”
Because COVID-19 has become so highly politicized, this topic has spread nationwide. As commonly seen online, it’s such a heated debate that it has even damaged friendships. Everyone is struggling to adjust to our new reality, and it’s proving to be more difficult than some of us had expected.
Nevertheless, Southern continues with its mask policy despite some student complaints. For now, it seems masks will continue to be treated as a necessity as an attempt to keep the campus and those around us safe. All we can do is our own part, and wait to see what will happen next.