Keep Safe and Look Great in a Face Mask: What Are the Rules?August 10, 2020

The spike in the number of active (Covid-19) cases means frequent changes, if not new additions, in safety protocol. There's no doubt that the wearing of facial mask is a must, but many don't like to wear it all the time. Is it necessary? Yes. What are the rules?

You might be living under a rock or you have heard the news that should be a cause of great concern for responsible individuals, and this news turns the wearing of face mask into an issue. It's an absolute must, so it's surprising, if not sad, to know that those who have issues about it are insensitive to the plight of health workers. Teenagers may be too young to grasp its importance but think of the possible scenarios during springtime. Not all universities will have the same set of rules on how the new term will start. It's a dilemma in American universities, so it's possible that Australian universities will follow. Spring may be warmer, but this is not a guarantee of the return of the old normal. (If you're a huge tennis fan, then you should be aware that the Asian Swing, which is held every September and October, won't push through. Perhaps Ashleigh Barty and Nick Kyrgios have valid reasons for staying home.) Confusion may arise, yet the likes of you would insist on not following the safety protocol. Not that you must worry about the downside of a two-week quarantine, but be warned about the lingering side effects. (You have more time for reading, which you rather call armchair traveling. You're thinking of Marguerite Duras's autobiography, which your tutor would recommend to you. Her description of the tropical landscape surrounding Saigon, which took place during the waning days of the French Occupation of Vietnam, would change her perspective. It turned her into an artist. You wondered if it could happen to you after looking at your itinerary, which could change after the pandemic.) Why make things complicated? A face mask is more important than toilet paper. What's next?

The coronavirus is like an ancient mariner, where there's a good chance that it will be around next summer. The heat would distract many, but there's no reason to get stressed about the probability of the virus being around for another year or two. The vaccine trials look promising, raising both T-cell response and antibody response. Herd immunity seems more effective, but there's no need to think long and hard if you would be one of those lucky ones. And you can expect that hospitals won't witness another epidemic. If you want to see the old normal sooner, then you must follow the safety protocol. It means not reacting violently to anyone telling you to wear a face mask.

6 Questions to Ask, But Ridicule Makes You Not

Do university students need to wear a face mask? Yes. The new term may not see the return of the old normal, but there will be instances when you must go out and interact with your professors, other students, and the rest of the university staff. It will take more than five minutes, so the risk is high. Moreover, you must be warned about conversations with coursemate(s), professors, and tutors. It doesn't mean that silence, whispering, and short, halting conversations are options, as ventilation would be a factor. The virus may be far from the Venomous Vorpent, which fans of Cressida Cowell would know, but it's your imagination. The pandemic is not. Wear one because it would save lives, not after seeing Jennifer Anniston wear one (in her recent Instagram post).

What are the social rules? You must not ridicule a student for wearing a face mask. It should remind you of some (American) conservatives who made fun of those who followed the safety protocol. Guilt came too late (after the passing of their older loved ones). If you see another student not wearing a face mask, you can keep a distance. This is not an offensive gesture. (A Parisian waiter was hurt after telling a customer a wear a mask. A painful lesson to everyone.) You can tell it gently, even if there's still a probability that you won't only be reminded about minding your own business. Mask monitoring can be risky, but you must think of your well being. If it's someone you know, you can keep a distance of two meters or more. If you're the only one wearing a face mask, you must not remove it out of courtesy. Speak louder. And you may (or may not) wear a mark while exercising. If you spot an approaching jogger, turn left (or right).

What type of face mask to wear? A surgical mask is the best choice, as you're almost assured of getting protected. (It may be ninety percent, but the figure is encouraging.) The fabric gives you a slightly lower percentage, which may or may not be good enough. It depends on the place you go, and a university ground is not considered safe enough. Safety is your only criterion, so forget about colour coordination. Don't think about style (after staring at Karlie Kloss's). But you can wear shades. It could be a good substitute for a face shield, which is mandatory in other countries. There's no need to complain.

Can you communicate through your face mask? Yes. The eyes will reveal it. (A "creased" eye is a good sign of a smiling face.) If you're the stoic type, you might have some problems. You can talk louder, if not communicate through e-mails. Keep in mind that social interaction is essential to teenagers, so pay attention to body gestures that reveal a wide range of emotions. You may have taken it granted before the pandemic. 

Should I wear make-up? What to do with a beard? The first question could be a sign of vanity, which seems inappropriate during this time. The lower skin must be cleaned, so you know what to do with the beard.

Doctor's Advice

There are variations of surgical and fabric masks, scarf included. Try a few and walk a block or two. If you're feeling anxious, then remove it. That mask may not suit you, so find another kind. If you feel it's more than anxiety, consult a doctor. You don't want to miss the beginning of the new term.

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