Nathalie Moreno

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the middle of March, the world has had to adjust to a new normal. This new normal includes limiting how much people go out, being extra sanitary and, probably the most controversial change of all, always wearing masks when going out. 

These masks act as a preventative measure to lessen the spread of the virus and it’s the safest way to live for the time being. Though wearing them might constantly be frustrating, the use of masks keeps everyone safer.

“Cloth coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow the spread of the virus–particularly when used universally within a community setting,” CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said in a press release.

These changes have forced everyone to make adjustments at home, work and now school. Schools worldwide have been struggling to figure out what the upcoming school year will look like as the summer comes to an end.

Wearing masks on campus is a great way to try and prevent the spread of coronavirus among the student body, faculty and staff. Students who are living on campus and going to some of their classes in person, like FSC junior Grace Sill, agree and see no problem with wearing masks around campus and in classrooms.

“It’s not about whether someone has COVID-19 or not, because I’d rather err on the side of being overprotective rather than endangering the lives of those around me,” Sill said.

While some schools have opted to go fully online for the fall 2020 semester, like Valencia College, UCLA, and Harvard University, Florida Southern College has chosen to limit the amount of students allowed back on campus and implement new rules to ensure the students’ safety. Florida Southern has allowed certain students back on campus, so long as those students follow the new rules, one of those rules being the mandatory use of masks in all classes and around campus.

“Students who will live on campus must follow procedures outlined in the FSCares reopening plan,” an email from FSC says. “The College will strictly enforce mask wearing, physical distancing, and other measures to keep campus as healthy as possible.”

In these difficult times, rules like these are needed to keep everyone healthy while also allowing the students to get as much out of the college experience as possible. 

While there may be people protesting for the removal of the mask mandate, people here on campus believe that masks are the best way to go and not even all that bad.

“I actually enjoy the mask,” FSC film professor Matthew Herbertz said. “It’s just another accessory now that prevents moisture droplets from spreading as easily. We are still early on substantial evidence on how effective they are, but the worst outcome is that we possibly were wrong and had to wear cloth on our face.”

Many others are looking at this situation the same way as Herbertz. Big manufacturers like Target (specifically their private companies like Universal Thread, Cat & Jack and Goodfellow) have even started being creative with their masks. 

In stores nationwide, there are different colored masks with quotes, designs, shapes and images on them. One of the funniest ones I’ve seen is a mask that has rated 2020 one out of five stars with the words “very bad, would not recommend.” Some people even take pleasure in making their own masks.

FSC’s Cat’s Club alumni officer Christina Meiser is a part of a group that makes and sells homemade masks to current FSC students if they want to spruce up their style with colorful, patterned masks.

“I really like the homemade masks; they’re fun, bright and sometimes even spark conversations,” Meiser said. “I was definitely a little self conscious when all of this started, but having different colors and patterns to match up my outfit has been fun.”

Along with the fashion aspect, Meiser also donates the proceeds to the campus cats. One in particular, Sherberto, just recently had eye surgery and is especially in need.

“Anything that can be done to help [the cats] and ensure that their lives are the best they can be, we want to do,” Meiser said.

Though it will be tougher and uncomfortable for some, it’s refreshing to see people using these situations to have fun and help those in need. If FSC’s administration and students wish to keep everyone else on campus from contracting the virus, I believe this is the safest way to do so. Not everyone might agree with those like me, but sometimes we need to make sacrifices for the greater good, and the most we can do is find some fun in these unchartered waters.

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