Thursday, September 30, 2021

The Mask

There's nothing quite like coming to work every day with a mask on. I've tried a few now. At first, I was using the K95 masks from China. I was okay with them, but I read a lot about how you can't exactly trust the quality of things coming from China. 

There was also the breathing factor. One day I found it so hard to breathe I had to change into one of the blue and white masks we have lying around the school. They really are a lot easier, but I understand they don't provide you with much protection. My understanding is they function mostly to prevent you from infecting others. 

I switched to the KF94 from Korea. I bought a bunch of them last year. I've read their quality is more consistent and reliable than those coming from China. However, you have to be careful about them too. I found what appeared to be a great deal and ordered more of them, only to find that these were not actually Korean masks, but rather copies from China. I guess the MAGA hats aren't selling quite like they use to, and a factory's got to show a profit somehow.

At least one day I had to forgo the Korean mask and use a school one, you know, because just I needed to breathe, but since that day I've been okay with them. They kind of have a built-in air pocket, and you can adjust the little wire above your nose so that your glasses don't fog up at all. I'm not sure how much protection I actually need, but it's not only COVID but also flu season. Might as well be as safe as possible.

As a dean, I have to monitor the mask-wearing of students. Every now and then I have to tell a kid to pull the mask over the nose. I certainly understand the temptation to leave it below and breathe freely. But a mask below the nose is likely as good as no mask at all. Most of the kids seem to cooperate, in our building at least. 

What really surprises me is the number of adults not wearing masks properly. I guess I should expect that, given all the crap in the news and pseudo-news. You have politicians, the same ones who support the repeal of abortion rights, screaming bloody murder about the right to go unmasked. It's outrageous!

It's those goshdarn radical leftists forcing their idiotic notions about public health on us! Who the hell do they think they are? Didn't Tucker say just last night how awful that was? (Tucker, of course, has to either be vaccinated or take COVID tests DAILY, because that's the company policy over at Fox News. Evidently, they want a safe workplace no matter what their talking heads say.) 

So every time I see an adult with a mask hanging under a nose, I wonder if that person watches Tucker and is engaging in a not-at-all subtle act of rebellion. Of course, that's not a rebellion I particularly admire. Some people, in fact, are holding fast to their principles, refusing the vaccine, and going without a paycheck. 

Here's the thing, though. Over the years I've had nurses come into my classroom and say things like, "Maria, you need to be vaccinated or you can't come back to school." Honestly, I fail to see why we are so precious, why we are such delicate flowers that vaccine mandates can't apply to us. Vaccine mandates have been upheld by the Supreme Court as early as 1905, A new argument I'm hearing now is this isn't technically a vaccine since the science is different. Whatever it is, it prevents a whole lot of people from getting hospitalized and dying. Its widespread use is a public good. Most COVID is still spread by the unvaccinated, and that's why this has become more of a red state problem than it used to be.

Sorry, but if you can't wear a mask, if you can't roll up your sleeve and take the shot to help your community, you are not a hero. More likely you're a victim of the awful propaganda that we allow to pass as news in this country. And if that's the sort of thinking in which you indulge, I have to question your fitness to teach our children.

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