Letter to the Editor: An alum’s response to the mask petition


by Christiana Bradshaw, Special to The Simpsonian

I picked up a copy of the Oct. 28, 2021 issue of The Simpsonian while on campus for rehearsal of the Simpson College Community Orchestra on Oct. 31. I would like to address some of the comments and questions posed in the front-page article, which was about a petition to no longer require masks on campus.

The writers of the petition state, “Transitioning into adulthood is about making your own decisions,” and “we are putting ourselves at risk…but that is a decision we want to make ourselves.” Unfortunately, this ignores the reality of how masks work. Masks primarily protect those around you, and only secondarily you yourself. Therefore, you are making a decision about the health of those around you, rather than just yourself, and risking their health, not just your own.

The students correctly point out that COVID doesn’t cease to exist while you are eating, but the reality is that we must still eat, even during a pandemic, and it is also true that we cannot 100% eliminate the risks of COVID. We can, however, be sensible about reducing risks. Masks are the best way to protect against the spread of COVID and other air-borne diseases since it traps the water particles that the diseases are spread by at the source, the mouth and nose. If you only remove your mask as long as it takes for your meal and then replace it, you are still reducing the risk of passing on illness.

I understand the frustration the students feel about the COVID policy constantly evolving; I too have felt frustration during the pandemic when we continually get new information that contradicts old information, but that is the nature of dealing with a brand new disease. As we learn more about the illness, we change how we react to it. I am pleased to see that Simpson continues to monitor the latest information, and make plans around the best current information.

One of the things I learned in college was how my behavior affects those around me. Though I was fortunate not to have to learn that lesson during a pandemic, it is even more directly true now. Again, this illness is not yet fully understood. We already know that a condition called Long COVID exists. What other long term effects of COVID will be found? Masks aren’t pleasant to wear, but they aren’t forever. Please try to be patient, and respectful of how your decisions will affect those around you.