With the executive order that masks cannot be required on college campuses, the University and many professors have opted to “encourage” masks in their classrooms and on the general campus. However, even with this wish for students to be safe in classes, professors' requests are commonly ignored.
Many professors encourage mask-wearing in their classroom to ensure that the face-to-face class option can be maintained throughout the semester. However, considering a spike in COVID cases is inevitable without the appropriate use of masks and social distancing, the likelihood of professors feeling comfortable enough to continue face-to-face learning is low. In our editorial staff, there have already been two cases when face-to-face class has switched to Zoom because of the increase in COVID cases.
However, putting the hopes for a regular college experience aside, respect is a large aspect of this situation that, unfortunately, many people are missing. When a professor asks their students to wear a mask due to personal or family health reasons, students should respect those reasons and their professor just as any decent human being would.
We know that you don’t want to wear a mask. We know that no one can make anyone do anything, but why is respect thrown out of the window when masks are involved?
It’s not a personal attack on you or what you believe in if someone asks that you wear a mask. Oftentimes, it’s a genuine request for safety. You don’t have to wear a mask, obviously. But if you notice that by not wearing one, your actions could be disrespectful to professors, students or staff members, reconsider your actions.
The past year has made mask-wearing a political or belief-centered issue. In reality, it’s a safe and selfless act that we will need to deal with for a little while longer to ensure our college experience remains as typical as possible.