Opinion: When and where to wear masks


Credit: Julia Raymond

Junior Lauren Medeiros wears her mask after a soccer game. WSPN’s Julia Raymond explains when and where to wear a mask.

Masks have become part of our new normal and something everyone should be used to by now. But for some, when and where to wear a mask can be confusing. Generally, masks should always be worn in a public setting unless you are outside and more than six feet apart.

Masks need to be worn in indoor public places even if you are more than six feet apart because you never know when a person is going to pass you. For example, you may be in a supermarket and think there is no one in the ice cream aisle, but someone could walk past you and sneeze or cough, and the virus could be easily spread. Thus, masks should also be worn in classrooms, even if desks are spaced six feet apart. Especially in small rooms, opening windows would help the situation even more.

However, masks are not necessary when you are outside and six feet apart since you are not in an enclosed space. Personally, I recommend that if you are taking a walk in a park, you should wear one because it is usually crowded. When you are just walking in your neighborhood, it is not necessary to wear one since there is a lot of space to social distance.

Mask-wearing can get tricky with athletes, especially those with asthma. It is recommended that people with asthma should avoid wearing a mask while exercising, as it can become dangerous. Athletes participating in games should keep their masks on at all times because they often are less than six feet away from their opponents, except in some sports such as golf.

Masks should not be worn in your house unless one of your family members has COVID-19 symptoms. If this is the case, household members should wear a mask and maintain socially distanced when leaving their designated isolation area. in order to keep each other safe, it’s important to communicate with your family members if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for corona or have displayed symptoms.

Lunchtime can be difficult. If you are not eating, you should keep your mask on to ensure the safety of others. Spacing out is useful when eating as it limits contact with others. Eating in a large space with a limited number of kids can also make the situation easier. If you cannot spread out at least six feet apart from each other, then find a new area or eat your lunch another time; the main goal is to keep others safe.

Areas around the parameter of the campus can be a good space for a mask break because there are usually not too many people around. I believe masks are very important, but it is understandable to need a break of them from time to time. Masks can cause difficulty breathing and cause pain on your ears when they are worn for long periods of time, making breaks essential. The bathroom, when no one else is in it, may be a good mask-break area too. Mask breaks are essential for the well-being of students who have to keep them on during classes when necessary.

When it is unclear whether you should keep your mask on or not, ask yourself: am I more than six feet apart and keeping others safe? Masks have become a lifesaver during this pandemic and something we never envisioned ourselves wearing, so it’s important to recognize where and when we need them.