It’s Not That Hard to Wear a Mask


Graphic made by A. Guo

There needs to be greater accountability on students and staff for following COVID protocol.

A classmate pulls their mask off to cough. A girl yells a question across the room with her mask below her chin. A couple of peers spit candy into each other’s mouths during class. Sometimes it feels like we are living in different worlds. 

In their world, they seem to forget the grandparents who had to die alone in hospital beds; they don’t remember the people who developed anxiety and depression during social isolation; they disregard those who have immunocompromised family members; they don’t see the increasing cases in younger populations; they ignore that poor, Black, and Hispanic communities have been the most affected from this pandemic.

Why don’t you care? You don’t even bother to pull up your mask when a picture is taken of you to go on social media, don’t you know WCPSS policy for face coverings? You complain with your friends when teachers tell you to sneeze inside your mask, why do you think a COVID test goes inside your nose? You refuse to take a free vaccine that protects everyone around you, all while non-Americans are not able to receive that protection even if they paid millions of dollars.

Other students within Green Level High School have also experienced feelings of unsafety from the lack of COVID protocol being followed. Umi Kumaran, a senior at Green Level, says that while most of the school follows COVID rules, there is one class where he experiences this discomfort, saying nearly half of the students wear their masks improperly. Some students in their class have tried asking people to wear their mask above their nose, but Kumaran tells me, “the guy who wasn’t following protocols just said no.” Kumaran further explains that the teacher didn’t say anything about the incident until the day after and notes their frustration about the situation, “I feel like that’s too late when people should have a right to feel safe in their classroom.”

Many students have similar experiences as Kumaran, like Salma Bounini who is also a senior at Green Level, “There are a few people that just won’t keep their masks on, or always have their masks right below their nose. This is very annoying because teachers keep correcting them, but they just won’t listen.” Bounini says these experiences are very frustrating because she feels that these students are not taking COVID-19 seriously.

COVID protocols like proper masking and social distancing should be more strictly enforced for students to feel safe. Kumaran puts it clearly, “There is no real punishment a teacher has ever done for someone not wearing their mask and I think that’s the problem.” 

If you don’t believe rules are being broken, you can look on students’ social media pages, among the crowded hallways during transitional periods, or at school club and athletic accounts on Instagram.

The number of COVID 19 cases and deaths are still climbing at devastating rates everyday, and Green Level, with its six reported cases this school year(compare that to Panther Creek with one case and Green Hope with zero), is no stranger to the current pandemic. 

Let’s keep each other safe if not out of love then at least respect, because it’s really not that hard to wear a mask.