Mbezi: Strongly Encouraged isn’t Enough

Agness Mbezi

We are barely two weeks into the new year and already Covid is kicking students out of school one by one.

It is time to enforce wearing masks.

On Jan. 10, 21 faculty members at Derby High were out for reasons surrounding Covid. That same day, I sat in my Block 3 course anxiously waiting to see if people around me would test positive for Covid. 

Sure enough one person did, then two, then three and so forth. After this experience, and seeing the rise in Covid cases around the Wichita area, I wondered if in the coming days the school board would enforce wearing masks. 

I couldn’t have been further from the truth. 

“The board made a motion to change masks from mandatory to strongly recommended under red on the masking criteria chart. Passed 4-3,” Derby Public Schools wrote on Twitter. 

So basically, when 6% of the school has Covid or is quarantined, instead of enforcing masks to be worn in the building for two weeks, they will be encouraging people to wear a mask. 

Strongly encouraging masks is not enough – and will not be enough. The majority of students will not wear masks unless it’s actually required, and that’s what needs to be done in order for this new wave of Covid – omicron – to stop. 

I can understand wanting to get back to normality. I can understand wanting to see friends and family again, and traveling the world. However, I also understand that all of these can be done while wearing a mask.

What I don’t comprehend is the reasoning behind not wanting to enforce masks. There are statistics that prove wearing masks help slow the spread of this careless virus.

Masks are not hurting anyone. The idea of wanting people to wear masks isn’t about people trying to take away a person’s rights. Wearing a mask goes above thinking about the person in the mirror. It’s about wanting to protect the person next to you, your family members and their family members. 

At some point, we as a society need to stop our selfish ways of thinking and start thinking about what is beneficial for other people. 

Covid is unkind. It’s selfish, uncaring and relentless. It seeks to infect everyone. So we should be doing everything in our capacity to try to stop it from taking more and more lives. 

If wearing a piece of fabric over my nose and mouth is going to prevent it from taking another life, then best believe that I’ll be wearing a mask until further notice. Because for me, one life, one case is enough. 

It should be enough for you, too.