The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Editorial: Masks should’ve been mandated way earlier

Illustrated+by+Amber+Davis
Illustrated by Amber Davis

When TCC opened its doors to students, there were no rules on masks. It was up to the students, staff and faculty. 

This lead some to feel unsafe and not very happy about the protocol for masks, or lack thereof. However, others don’t care about wearing a mask and find it pointless. 

Recently, a federal judge overruled Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning mask mandates in public schools. Judge Lee Yeakel said, “The spread of COVID-19 poses an even greater risk for children with special health needs.” This will help protect those who will be surrounded by classrooms full of people and will help stop the spread of COVID-19 to loved ones. 

 Here’s the issue. It’s a little late to change the flow of what schools have contributed by not enforcing a mask. People have gone so long without using masks, forcing a mandate now is welcome but it should’ve happened sooner. It should’ve been mandated within the first couple of months of the pandemic. Now people are used to the fact they don’t have to wear masks in public places. If it’s enforced now, it will cause an uproar. People have been allowed to be selfish for too long already. Masks have been made into a political device rather than a way to ensure everyone’s safety.  

 Children have been forced to go to school, and only recently, have been able to get vaccinated. They were walking around in tight hallways and classrooms, maskless, completely exposed because masks became a charged topic of discussion. They should’ve been required to wear a mask from day one. Not only would it protect them, but their families and teachers as well. 

It’s great that there is a focus on children, but they’re not the most at-risk age group. The elderly have had to hide away during the duration of the pandemic. Some of the older faculty and staff at TCC were forced into early retirement. They’re still having to hide away because masks and vaccinations aren’t required. Technology can be difficult for them to understand, so offering curbside delivery isn’t the solution many people think it is. All of this is because COVID became subjective rather than an objective thing to think about. 

Making masks and vaccinations into a political matter has been detrimental to society. People have been divided by who’s vaccinated and who isn’t. People that wear masks, and people that don’t. All this division during such a time of contention just added fuel to the fire. People were divided rather than trying to be there for each other through such a troubling time.

At a time when the world should’ve been at its most united, countries and states took different stances on what should be done to make people feel “safer.” Instead of having any kind of mitigating, some places said “screw it” and ignored recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

These exact reasons apply to TCC as well. It hasn’t implemented any protocols, even after the executive order has been overruled. But, at this point, it’s too late. The damage has been done. There has been a lack of empathy throughout for students, staff and faculty. Even the reporting that the school does is lacking. It’s all done through self-reports, so if someone comes down with a case of COVID, they’re expected to go on the website and fill out a form. 

More actions need to be put in place to stop the spread to protect the immunocompromised or others who decide they don’t want a vaccination. Overall case numbers could potentially go from triple digits to double digits in Tarrant County. 

Masks are important to help protect the people around us, and without them, we wouldn’t have survived going outside during lockdown for necessary needs. There would have been no protection. Masks also ensured that essential workers could work safely.

COVID-19 has affected all our lives in different ways. Whether that be with a loss of a family member, or getting sick and having to deal with the virus yourself. At the end of the day, we should all push to help protect each other and make this world safer for everyone. 

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