Why the Mask?


Weston Siebler

Masks have been an essential part of months now. There is no understating how important they truly are.

Masks, like N95 surgical masks, are proven to slow the spread of airborne diseases. Of course, not everyone can wear an expensive surgical mask every day. With everyone wearing cloth masks, how protected are we really? What should you look for in a mask and what should you avoid?

According to Mayo Clinic, “A cloth mask is intended to trap droplets that are released when the wearer talks, coughs or sneezes. Asking everyone to wear cloth masks can help reduce the spread of the virus by people who have COVID-19 but don’t realize it.” Cloth masks are not very effective at preventing people from getting the virus. Their main goal is to prevent others from spreading it. Therefore, the only way cloth masks will make an impact is if everyone wears one.

When purchasing a mask there are things you should look for, and things you should avoid. Masks with valves do the exact opposite of what cloth masks should do. Even if it is made out of cloth, it will not be as effective. The valves are designed to filter the air coming in but allow all air to pass through. If the cloth cant stop particles from coming in, and the valve can’t stop particles from going out, masks with valves can’t prevent the virus from spreading.

When looking for a proper mask, you should look for one that fits snugly on your face, without being uncomfortable. Too tight, you’ll want to take it off. Too loose, and air will escape, releasing pathogens into the air. When you do take off your mask, make sure you don’t touch it too much without sanitizing your hands. When you put your mask back on, all that bacteria will be in your mask. Wash your masks in a washing machine regularly. 

Freshman Jack Wing commented on the mask situation. 

“Wearing a mask every day gets annoying but I’ve gotten used to it,” Wing said. “Unless I’m thinking about it, I barely notice it’s there.”

One tip Mayo Clinic stresses is that masks are not a substitute for social distancing. Just because you have a mask does not mean you can be close to your friends.

English instructor Mrs. Stephanie Heitmann’s views on masks are quite optimistic.

“I’m glad we’re doing it,” Heitmann said about the mask mandate.  “I think it’s an easy thing we can do to keep everyone healthy and safe.” 

Heitmann’s optimistic outlook helps show how bad things could be and if we didn’t take our precautions. 

“I’m happy we are in school. I think our district administration has been handling the situation very well,” Heitmann said.