By Eddie Carpenter
On March 14, face mask requirements were lifted on Humboldt’s campus as a way to transition back to normal operations. This has created polarizing views towards how students and staff going maskless might affect the local community. Some students have chosen to ditch the masks while others still embrace them.
Local musician Dillon Harp expressed how one’s personal choice can affect the community as a whole.
“As an African-American and knowing that my family has elders in it…the mask is just really there to protect others,” Harp said. “Obviously the mask can let particles in like more so than let particles out…Wearing your mask is really just about kind of looking out for the community for me. I ain’t really unmasking anytime soon. If we can all come together a little and see some of the basic logic behind protecting each other, our elderly family members- I think we can all help out and just keep the mask on a little longer.”
Carlos Ochoa-Silvas, a rangeland resource major, expressed how masks gave him skin problems.
“Wear a mask if you have symptoms of anything or if you feel like you’re not a hundred-percent,” Ochoa-Silvas said. “When I heard about it, I was mostly excited just because I didn’t like wearing the mask. I kept breaking out underneath and it was really irritating my skin.”
Political science major Lake McLeod believes that Humboldt’s recent transition could not come at a better time than this.
“Personally, I agreed with it. I think that eventually, we do have to kind of return to some kind of sense of normalcy,” McLeod said. “You know after two years of being masked…and the cases are down, so I feel like at this point we should learn to live with COVID like we do [with] the flu.”
English and CRGS major Mireille Roman thinks of wearing a mask as an act of solidarity.
“I would say that because it’s not a mandate now, it’s kind of become a personal choice to what you want to do with it,” Roman said. “But your personal choice still impacts people at the end of the day. I think the best way that my professor put it was like ‘I’m going to stand in solidarity with people who can’t take off their masks.’ Because there’s people who [are saying] ‘I’m perfectly healthy. I’m vaccinated. I’m good.’ Yeah, but just because you’re fine doesn’t mean that other people are going to be in a position to do so as well… but I think it really dictates the environment of a classroom when the professor chooses to wear a mask or not. Until the numbers are better and just nationally we’re more responsive to this, I’m probably going to keep wearing my mask.”
Between March 15 and March 22, Humboldt County Public Health reported 72 new COVID-19 cases with 2 new hospitalizations.