Masks: Make It Equitable

Regarding masking…I have had to do a lot of things with a mask.  Teaching all day would be a pain, but 1 hour is not a big deal.  

My frustration with masking is not whether or not I wear a mask.  It is this:

  • I find it unethical to insist in a given situation that one group be given a green light for unmasking, while another group is compelled to mask.  This is, on its face, discriminatory.  
  • The issue is compounded because medical information is supposed to be private, and by stating that “the vaccinated may unmask” and “the unvaccinated must be masked” the unvaccinated are obligated to divulge their private medical status visibly to all present.  

It would be one thing if we had “hard science” backing up the idea that flimsy medical and cloth masks actually prevented the spread of Covid.  But we don’t have that.  In fact, just like the flu, Covid is spread in both “large particles” and “aerosolized particles.”  Flimsy masks work fairly well to catch “large particles” — but they do nothing or merely redirect “aerosolized particles.”  Indoors, with no ventilation, no HVAC system with a HEPA filter or UV treatment installed, the aerosolized Covid particles will slowly spread throughout the air we breath — and the flimsy medical masks and cloth masks will do nothing to filter aerosolized particles.

Again, it would be another thing if we had “hard science” to back up the idea that the vaccinated are incapable of catching and/or spreading Covid.  But we don’t have that.  The vaccine makers (and the CDC) have emphasized over and over that vaccinated folks can still catch Covid and, if infected, can still spread Covid to others.  Vaccinated folks who get Covid are less likely to have symptoms — which means, if Covid infected, that they are more likely to “feel fine” and unwittingly spread the virus to others around them as they go about their usual activities.  To whit: the vaccinated are not intrinsically “more safe” than those who have not been vaccinated.  

My position is this: all in-person teachers are masked or all are not masked — this is equitable.  Additionally, all in-person teachers, regardless of vaccine status, should be asked to check their temperature and whether or not they have Covid symptoms each day before they commence teaching.  This, again, is equitable, and makes it highly unlikely that Covid transmission takes place.

For me, this is all quite ironic, because I already had Covid (and I have the PCR test results to prove it.)  This means that I have antibodies and T-cells primed to react not just to the Covid spike protein, but to the entire virus.  It has been shown that people who survived SARS 17 years ago are still immune to SARS 17 years later, AND they bear “cross-immunity” to Covid-19.  The SARS and Covid viruses are very, very similar.  I’m probably permanently immune to Covid.  

But…whatever.  Mask me, don’t mask me.  Online or in-person.  It doesn’t really matter all that much.  Although, after being publicly accused of being an “anti-vaxxer” I’d rather my vaccine status not be public knowledge.  However, for me at this location, it appears that ship has sailed.  So be it.

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