It is disappointing and obvious that most people do not understand how wearing a face mask offers protection from airborne germs or viruses. The primary protection of a mask is not for the wearer, but for all the people around them. You don’t wear a mask for yourself but because you care about others.
If you are infected, your breath carries that infection on every exhalation. This is true whether or not you realize you are infected. According to science, the exhalations from an unmasked person carry six feet or more indoors. The purpose of the mask is to limit that spread so you don’t infect others as easily.
During the recent Gibraltar School Board discussion about masking, one board member was quoted in this newspaper as saying, “We have done everything we can to make them safe. The responsibility should shift to the parents.” This clearly implies a belief that a mask is for the protection of the wearer.
If a parent is to truly ensure the safety of their own child when other children in the school are not masked during an infectious pandemic, then the parent’s only choice is to keep their child home. I don’t believe this is what is intended by the Gibraltar School Board.
We know that being vaccinated is not absolute protection against being infected. Even vaccinated people can become spreaders, so we must all be careful. If I wear a mask, it helps protect you. If you wear a mask, it helps protect me. During this pandemic, not wearing a mask indoors in a public space endangers the health of the others around you.
Because school boards have responsibility for the safety of our children, they must understand that the primary purpose of a mask is for the protection of others.
Ellison Bay, Wisconsin