In the United States, there have been over 7 million reported COVID-19 cases, and over 200,000 COVID-19 related deaths. As of right now, a mask may be the best line of defense people have against this pandemic.
The world has been in the midst of a global pandemic for over half a year, and in order to attempt to return to normalcy, masks have become the answer.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield spoke before the Senate on Sept. 16, he said, “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.”
On July 31, 2020, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued a statewide mask mandate stating, “all persons in Maryland over the age of 5 years old are required to wear a face covering,” when in situations where proper social distancing cannot be achieved.
The University of Maryland, following the terms of the mandate, was quick to let all students know that a face mask will be required on UMD’s campus.
“While the rules surrounding the mask mandate are clear and simple, it is up to us as members of the campus community to hold ourselves accountable for our behaviors during this unprecedented time,” said Julia Matute, the assistant director of health promotion and wellness services at UMD.
Many universities across the country have approached this pandemic in their own way. At UMD the4 Maryland Campaign has become the way students and faculty stay healthy and safe.
The 4 Maryland campaign states that all students should:
Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth at all times when inside buildings, and outside when in the presence of others
Wash your hands often and sanitize frequently used surfaces
Practice physical distancing (Stay at least 6 feet away from others)
Stay home if you are sick
“It is very important that all members of the university community practice the 4 Maryland behaviors that will help to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Jewel M Washinton, assistant vice president for human resources, in an email to the UMD community on Sept. 24.
While most students understand the need for face coverings, some are not taking it as seriously as they should. Freshman environmental science major Alyssa Chiascione said, “I feel it’s definitely needed but I see students not wearing them around the bathrooms or in the hallways or with friends. I think students should be more on top of telling other students to wear a mask.”
Though students may not enjoy putting on a mask before going to their dorm’s communal bathroom, this is the new reality. “Even though sometimes it does get annoying, it is so worth it to protect the lives of my friends and family and stay on campus,” said Anthony D’Alessio, a freshman landscape architecture major at UMD.
“Masking” up has become a regular part of a student’s day, like putting on shoes or brushing your teeth. Practicing 4 Maryland behaviors has become a critical part of campus life at UMD. Wearing a mask whenever you go out around campus, and especially when you are unable to social distance, is what will keep the UMD community happy and healthy.