Exactly eight months ago, we left school and did not return for the rest of the school year due to the increasing fear of COVID-19. On May 1, J. B. Pritzker, Illinois governor, mandated that face masks were required in public places in Illinois. Many grocery stores, government buildings, and other essential businesses already had been implementing this rule for a couple of weeks. We have been wearing masks for roughly eight months, yet I still see people who don’t wear their mask correctly.
This frustrates me. I panic when I see someone not wearing a mask correctly because I’m afraid they are going to infect me. I have to quickly walk away just so that I can get away from them. I am someone who takes COVID-19 very seriously. I have been wearing my mask anytime I go to a public place and have social distanced from all other people. I haven’t been inside someone’s house besides my own since the beginning of March. I have taken so many precautions, so why can’t others do so as well?
Every time I go to a store, I can usually spot at least one person whose mask isn’t covering their nose. I get it. Masks are uncomfortable, but they keep us safe. I don’t appreciate seeing others who don’t even care that by not wearing their mask correctly they are possibly endangering others.
I have listened to the countless times teachers must remind students to cover their mouth and nose. I have seen students in the hallways lower their masks when there are no staff around. All of these actions are putting the greater population at risk and hurting our chances of being able to finish the semester in person. The more cases that St. Charles North has, the more likely that we will have to go back to fully remote.
I understand that as we head into colder months students are going to be more likely to go into their friends’ houses, but I implore you not to. It is much harder to social distance and keep others safe inside than it is outside. I have taken precautions that even when I am outside and I see my family I wear a mask so that I can protect others. Even though I realize I am less likely to have a serious reaction to COVID-19 because I am younger, I wear a mask so that other people who are at a higher risk are less likely to catch COVID-19. Not to mention the fact that just because I am at a lower chance of the virus being fatal due to my age, it can still cause life-long and severe health effects.
I understand that some argue that masks are uncomfortable or that they feel that it is taking away their personal freedoms. However, I think that as undesirable as masks are, the positives far outweigh the negatives. By wearing a mask, you are protecting yourself, your loved ones and others. You are slowing down the spread of this deadly virus so that hopefully someday we can return to our daily life without a mask.
The Center for Disease Control has recommended that everyone should wear a mask. It has been scientifically proven that masks can help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Now–more than ever–is the time to be wearing a mask and social distancing. COVID-19 cases are spiking all over the nation, county and even at St. Charles North. The U.S. is currently setting new records for the number of new cases a day, with up to 140,000 cases a day this past week. The new cases in Illinois and Kane County have been increasing steadily over the past few weeks.
North has had a total of 48 cases over the past four weeks with 33 of the cases still being active. I want to continue to go to school. I have thoroughly enjoyed connecting with my teachers face-to-face and seeing other students in person. I have found that I am learning better in person than I did remotely. But, I fear that if we don’t get our case numbers under control then it won’t be possible for us to continue to go to school in person. I have heard people talk about how they want to stay in person and how it is better for their learning, yet I see some of these same people together outside of school going to parties without masks or social distancing.
I know that right now it seems like there is no end in sight, but by wearing our masks, we can bring the end closer. Scientists are working daily to find a vaccine so that eventually our lives can return to normal. Have faith, North Stars. We can make it through this together.