Unmasking teens’ feelings about face masks

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Photo by Grace Sacco

Grace Sacco '20 and her father sporting face masks

From public spaces to cars, and even walks around the neighborhood, face masks are becoming a normal part of life during quarantine, but how do today’s teens and younger generations feel about sporting this extra garment? 

As the quick spread of the coronavirus can be slowed by the temporary solution of mask-wearing, younger generations have varying opinions about partaking in this practice, especially since they aren’t the age group at the highest risk of the pandemic. While refusing to wear a mask poses risks of spreading coronavirus, believing masks are unnecessary during this time could also create difficulties in the process of flattening the curve. 

WHS sophomore Maia Dragowski said, “I think [masks are] necessary, especially if you’re going out to places where a lot of people would be. I think it’ll protect me more than not wearing one. I won’t see it as embarrassing or something that’s unnecessary.”

Masks are not only worn for the safety and protection of others but also to ease the somewhat nervous and tense atmosphere brought on by the pandemic. 

WHS sophomore Jack Percival said, “Face masks are proven to reduce the number of germs spread when breathing, sneezing, coughing, etc., so I think it’s important to wear when leaving the house and especially when around people outside of the house.” 

The risk of contracting an illness in public is always prominent, and the fear surrounding this possibility may increase due to COVID-19. Therefore, it may become standard to wear masks daily in the near future. 

“Since life has to go back to a somewhat normal pace, we have to wear masks in order to protect ourselves and others. It will be hard to adjust, but it’ll be our best way of getting back to what we know as normal,” said WHS junior Paige Eckard. 

On the other hand, WHS junior Russell Cohen said, “With my asthma, breathing in WHS is already hard enough. Breathing with a face mask is even harder.”

With potential breathing troubles on the horizon, this could become an issue for some students. “As much as they help, they do somewhat restrict airflow,” added junior Jack Sumas. The lack of airflow seems to be a repeated concern among the student body, which could potentially lead to a conflict about wearing masks during the summer and upcoming school year. 

As masks become more commonplace, the possibility of having to wear them on a daily basis is seeming more like a reality. Whereas the majority of the Westfield community seems to be in high spirits to sport face masks going into the new school year, some have concerns wearing them.