Letter to the Editor: Remove the mask mandate at TU

By Cody Campbell

Views expressed in this letter are those of the author

It is clear that the world over the past two years has had to adapt to compensate for the COVID-19 pandemic, sacrifices have been made by every individual, as well it is clear that there are those who follow leaders without question, and there are those who remain cautiously skeptical of leaders, not through matter of notion for expected failure, rather through healthy respect for one’s own critical thinking, of critical analysis. Such notions were those that founded our nation, that notion that it is the responsibility of the individual to determine what is right for themselves. When such a proposition as the obligation to don KN95 masks for the Spring 2022 semester at Towson University has fallen to our ears and minds, it elicited a vehement emotional reaction consistent with query, with shock, and with disdain. Thus, it is our collective responsibility as citizens to respectfully request that the mandate for KN95 masks be removed in its entirety, and if such masks are still desired, rather encourage them heartily, yet respect our ability to analyze situations for ourselves. We have entered unto the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, wherein for over one entire school year was moved to virtual learning, worldwide panic ensued, yet also observed was a miracle vaccine being developed under the administration of President Trump. Such vaccines for COVID-19, those being developed by companies Moderna and Pfizer, are each widely regarded as extremely effective against the transmission (reduced by at least 80%, more accurately at around 95%) and hospitalization rates (reduced by at least 90%) of COVID-19. Such data, if taken at the value of what it is, that being empirical data, it is clear that these vaccines are about as close to a miracle medication that one can surely hope for. The President of the United States, Joe Biden, on May 13, 2021, offered up this, “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the CDC — announced that they are no longer recommending that fully vaccinated people need wear masks”, in response to not only the increase in vaccination status but as well to the decrease of COVID-19 positive tests and hospitalizations. To be sure, this was published prior to the announcement of the added benefit that booster shots were necessary, just as they are for effectively every other vaccine, and yet at the time that such a disclosure was output by the administration, the notion of masking up as a requirement came back into the public spotlight. Further, administration of COVID-19 vaccinations was at an all-time high during the late spring/early summer months of 2021; as we know now as a global community, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines that are widely available in America, perhaps require a booster shot, as the CDC recommends around 6 months after the second dose of either of these shots. One should take care to notice that 6-8 months post peak vaccination administrations, COVID-19 cases in America began to rise again. Correlation between vaccine administration, vaccine efficacy length, and a subsequent rise in cases again must be noted, especially in a college setting wherein it would be quite untrained to cast aside the notion that extracurricular activities, such as parties occur. In a word, it is natural that cases will rise with the increase of holiday parties and the wearing off of vaccines. To be sure as well, it is unknown to the authors of this as to the exact numbers of those students who have perished at Towson University due in large part to COVID-19. Based on the evidence provided, the empirical evidence, it does not seem effective, rather, it does not seem necessary, in a colloquial sense of the word, to continue to wear masks through “an abundance of caution.”

To wit, we must ask ourselves, to what extent will the abundance of caution reach? We have stood by our country while she experienced hardship, while she faltered, yet upon this day, our government, such a government that originally enunciated from the pulpit that individual liberties were the difference between tyranny and freedom, has failed us as individuals, has failed our individual liberties. We plead with you, Towson University, do not play a drastic role in the increased restriction, the increased failure in our ability to reason for ourselves. We ask you, our alma mater, to hold faith in us as we reason amongst ourselves.

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