Column: Polarized – Face masks and the havoc they bring

Editor’s Column

Cyrus is the Multimedia editor and a translator for Ethic News.

By CYRUS ENGELSMAN

Face masks have been a polarizing topic since they were mandated in early 2020.  The country as a whole has been divided on hating or loving these face masks, whether they are helpful or useless has been debated by many since their presence has been known to the public.  

Students at Redlands East Valley High School have been no different in this mindset, many argue over whether or not they should be enforced.  There have always been students who have tried to protest against these mandates, hiding their face masks and claiming to not wear it due to not having one, or outright not wearing them in a certain class because a teacher does not enforce the rule, and there are a group of students who refuse to remove their mask, going as far as not eating during lunch hours as to not remove their mask.  

Since February 16, the mask mandate has been lifted in most locations in California, however, a clear exception to this has been in schools.  This has caused tension amongst students and teachers alike.  

The day after the mandate was lifted was a tension filled day.  I remember a class that day vividly, a student was asked to put on a face mask as required per the mandate, and the student in question refused, claiming that if they did not have to in other locations, it would be the same for school.  Students who agreed took their masks off and joined the kid in their protest against the mandate, while other students were telling everyone to wear their masks and to continue the lesson for the day.  The students who protested against the mandate were removed from the classroom, but the damage was done, everyone was uncomfortable with the argument that had taken place.

This is just one example of the many arguments that have taken place because of these face masks.  Some teachers do not enforce the rule at all, while others insist on enforcing it.  When teachers ignore a rule like some do now, it adds to the tension and awkwardness some students face.  I feel it is dangerous when teachers do not enforce rules given to them by the state. A teacher would never let a student use drugs or alcohol in class because it is a law. Why should face masks be any different? What truly is the difference between a state law and a state rule?  

With the face mask mandate being removed on March 11, 2022, I fear the rest of the school year might face a larger conflict, with people who will choose and choose not to wear their face masks.  

That is not to say there is a sole group responsible for the arguments and discourse.  There are good people that are a part of both sides of the argument, both with valid beliefs and ideologies.  It is important to remember that, because a person is not in the same group as you, or not a part of the same beliefs, does not mean they are a bad person. 

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