Make Your Own Mask Decisions


Brooklyn Chillemi

Whether you choose to abandon your mask or not, don’t make your choice based on what everyone else is doing — choose what is right for you.

Brooklyn Chillemi, Editor in Chief

I want you to know that I literally could not care less whether or not you wear your mask. 

I say that to be a comfort, but it’s a strangely unpopular opinion during this time. But I mean it: I don’t care. 

What I do care about is that you’ve made the decision for yourself, and that you are not succumbing to the peer pressure that is constantly applied to both people who do choose to mask and people who do not. 

Since the announcement was made that La Salle will be mask optional by March 14, time and time again I’ve heard the nonchalant, yet concerning question from my peers: “Will you be wearing your mask?” 

My answer?

It is none of your business. And no, I won’t ask you in return, because it is none of my business either.

Most of the meeting that was held by the La Salle administration on Tuesday, Mar. 3 felt expected to me. Yes, as many other schools around the country right now are doing, La Salle will be mask optional. Yes, positive test numbers are decreasing in Oregon, La Salle, and the United States. Yes, it will be entirely up to your personal decision whether or not you decide to wear a mask on La Salle campus when the time comes. 

However, one thing during the presentation struck me as strange: the stark contrast between the varying student comments, as well as the one similarity that ties them together that truly describes what the student body is thinking about right now. 

“I think if it’s optional, then students who choose to keep wearing their masks will be made fun of even if it’s minor and nobody should be bullied for wanting to keep themselves and their loved ones safe,” one anonymous student submitted in the student feedback form that La Salle administration released on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. 

Yet another anonymous student said, “If masks become optional, I foresee students facing criticism from their peers and other students if they decide to not wear a mask.”

Both of these students feel uncomfortable making their own masking choices. Why? Because they recognize that other students at La Salle will judge and question their choices, regardless of the actual choice made, and they care about what those other people think. 

It is a shame that we as students at La Salle do not consider ourselves brave leaders enough to simply decide for ourselves.

I am not saying that these observations are inaccurate. In fact, I think they’re entirely right — I am certain that both maskless and masked students at La Salle will receive criticism and questioning about their decision, with malice and without, both to their faces and behind their backs. 

We’ve already seen it with vaccination decisions. It is the same peer pressure here, on both sides. 

So before we make our decisions on Monday, my call to the La Salle student body is this — please make your decision for yourself. Stop asking other people whether or not they will be wearing their mask and why, because it is none of your business. Take this weekend to focus on assessing your health and your family’s health, and decide what is best for you. 

Then, come into La Salle bravely, no matter what you have decided. Wear it, don’t, change your mind later, whatever. Just make your own choice.