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Masks: A Duty Many Avoid

By Emma Friedman

A wise man once said, “One is a mask. The other is a chin guard. No one told you to wear a chin guard. Wear a mask.”

This particular wise man happens to be Governor Andrew Cuomo. He made this statement while discussing mask use during protests and then tweeted it later that day on Sunday, July 12. 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been controversy regarding masks. The controversy has spread far and wide going from anti-masker protests, to the chin guard method to whether N-95 masks are the most effective. 

As masks have become a political statement rather than a tool for survival, the internet is full of different opinions on them. It has been proven time and time again that masks are an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, yet somehow many disagree.

Walking around The University of Tampa’s campus, there is a large variety of masks within the student body and staff. Bandanas, blue masks, N-95’s, and the patterned cloth ones seem to be the favorite in class, but outside of class it seems to be a different story. 

Many students have been seen roaming around campus with masks in their hands instead of on their faces. There has also been some spotting doing Gov. Cuomo’s favorite… the chin guard method. 

While reopening college campuses continues to occur in both states with increasing and decreasing cases, the threat of COVID is still very real. During this time many universities have chosen to open their doors only to be shutting them a week or two later. 

After just one week of in-person classes, The University of Notre Dame decided to shut their doors and continue learning online. Three days after students returned to campus for fall semester, their infection rate started to rise. Forbes reported that the 80 new cases were reported in just one day, up from the 58 cases the day before. 

The University of Kentucky has reported over 1,200 students testing positive for COVID-19 and 166 staff as of Saturday, Aug. 29, according to ABC News. They attribute this number partially to crowded bars and parties where many students were unmasked.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Central Florida, Arizona State University, and Colorado College are just to name a few of the universities around the country that have seen their infection rates soar. 

Getting young people to wear masks is already a challenge, so add in a warm climate and it seems like an impossible task. 

The average temperature in Tampa during September is 86 degrees with 77.6% humidity, according to Weather Atlas. While this climate is enjoyable to lay on a beach, it is less than ideal to wear a mask. 

While the thought of wearing a mask in the hot sun feels like more of a burden than anything, it is also the best chance The University of Tampa has at continuing in-person classes and staying open.

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