GCPS Events Mask Requirement Proves Divisive

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Gwinnett County Public Schools has been requiring masks for extracurricular activities and events, but students have different thoughts and feelings about this rule.

Gwinnett has required masks for indoor activities and events since the start of the competition seasons this fall. However, they did not require masks for outdoor activities and events, such as football, until September 17th.  Now masks are required for all occasions, yet many spectators are not wearing them. These different perspectives on this situation can bring awareness to our community.

“I think it’s ridiculous not to require masks,” says a Parkview High School senior, Catalina Macedo Giang. On the other hand, Aubrey Armstrong, a freshman at Parkview, says, “I think it should be optional for outdoors and recommended for indoors.” These opposing views create a divide between members of the community.

The CDC recommends wearing a mask in public, where there are people you don’t live with. They especially recommend it, when social distancing is hard to control. For example, a football game can be a situation where social distancing is difficult to contain. The stadium is full with all different people that have been everywhere.

Masks are proven to help prevent the spread of the Corona virus and to help protect us. Masks are required not only at school and school events but also in many public places as well. Because this is a requirement in various locations within our community, it brings forth an important question:  Are the masks requirements helping prevent the spread of covid in our community? 

“It does help because people can be asymptomatic or exposed without us knowing. So, wearing the masks helps protect yourself and others,” says a Trickum Middle School student, Abby Holcomb. In contrast, Aubrey states, “This is like a personal opinion- but looking at the studies of people who have worn masks everywhere versus the people who haven’t worn masks, more people who have worn more masks everywhere, have gotten it more than the people who haven’t.” 

The purpose of a mask is to prevent one’s respiratory droplets from traveling on to other people. In contrast to Aubrey’s opinion, many studies have shown that those who do wear masks, are less likely to contract or spread the disease  than those who don’t wear masks. For example, the CDC has conducted several experiments proving masks are efficient and do work. Also, the website contains many additional studies about masks and covid risk conducted by other organizations. Despite her opinion, the facts and studies show that those who have worn masks are less likely to catch the virus, than those who don’t. 

Currently, students and staff who are participating in these extracurricular activities wear masks even when not competing. For example, when the student is checking in to the event and warming up, masks are on. The students can have the mask either on or off while participating in an event such as a volleyball game, softball game, or cross country meets. The audience attending the event has to be wearing a mask.

While this rule has been put in place by GCPS, there are still many different views. This can go back and forth, but hope is that this virus can be defeated.