Why We Should Be Wearing Masks


Image courtesy of the Summit County Health Department

Ryan Rose, Co-Editor

If you’re anything like me, you find December through March to be a disgusting time of the year. Sure, the snow can be pretty and the festivities of the holidays surely help brighten the dark winter months, but these things don’t make up for the horrors that the winter months bring us. These times are filled with coughs, sneezes, congestion, hoarse voices, and stuffy noses. It feels like everywhere you go there is someone openly hacking up a lung or sneezing without having the common courtesy to cover their nose. Even worse, being assaulted by the sound of someone sucking up snot is a frequent occurrence. This may sound grotesque, but that is the point. These months are repulsive and you spend the entirety of them hoping you can make it through without catching one of the plethora of illnesses going around. 


Dodging this annual plague may sound tough, but it isn’t impossible. In fact, many of us have done so very recently. Think back to the 2021/2022 school year. As a result of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, everyone in school was wearing a mask in order to keep the levels of school COVID transmission down. Our masks didn’t just prevent COVID from spreading, they prevented a whole assortment of ailments from spreading, including the flu and RSV. That’s why before the holiday season in December the CDC encouraged the usage of masks to help prevent these respiratory viruses. Masks can still help us combat illness, even in this post-pandemic era.


While I am not calling to implement universal mask mandates again to help prevent the flu and the common cold (that would be a bit much), I do call on people who know they are sick to wear a mask when going to school. In an ideal world, we’d all be able to stay home and completely prevent the spread of illness anytime we are sick, but this is simply not feasible. If we all missed school anytime we had cold symptoms we’d all be missing way too much class time and the load of makeup work we’d have to do would be unbearable. This doesn’t mean that we have to stop caring about protecting those around us, though. Simply putting on a mask to help prevent infecting others would do wonders; other cultures do it, why can’t we?