Mask or no mask? Students share opinions on masking


Iowa has reported 23 monkeypox cases as of Sept. 21, with 12 cases originating in Central Iowa.

Olivia Jackovin

In Iowa, the number of reported COVID-19 cases is currently declining. However, the disease that has changed the world this past year and a half is far from over.

Masks can be a controversial topic, especially as the pandemic evolves. There is no standard when it comes to wearing a mask, with some individuals refusing to wear one and others wearing them religiously.

A recent survey taken by 40 Iowa State students proved this wide variety of mask usage and their opinions on the matter. This survey cannot be used to represent the entire population of Iowa State; however, it can give us a glimpse at how often some students wear masks.

The average student was found to wear a mask approximately 23.7 percent of the time.

When asked if they wore a mask always, sometimes, rarely or never, it was found that 2.5 percent said they always wear a mask, 32.5 percent sometimes wear a mask, 35 percent rarely wear a mask and 30 percent never wear a mask.

Many students noted that the only time they wore a mask was on the bus or to other places such as stores where they are required or at their place of employment if required.

“I usually only wear a mask on the bus and if someone asks me to,” Katherine Notarangelo, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, said.

“I would say I only wear a mask on the bus,” said Lillian Reynolds, a freshman studying animal science.

Some students also have reasons as to why they do not wear a mask.

“I never wear a mask,” said Emily Nible, a freshman majoring in agricultural business. “I don’t feel like it protects everyone as much as they say it does, and I have trouble breathing through it, but I’m not going to tell others they shouldn’t wear a mask.”

Other students have noted that they do believe in masks, but with the current number of people wearing masks being so low, only a few of them wearing a mask won’t do much good.

“Masks work if the collective people use them,” Emma Ostrowski, a freshman studying engineering, said. “If only one person wears them it doesn’t work. Masks are protecting others, not themselves.”

Professors have also noticed a lack of masks in the classroom.

“I would say, at most, less than one percent,” Joanna Schroeder, an assistant teaching professor in the Greenlee School of Journalism, said on the number of students who wear masks.

She mentioned that in her class, with approximately 150 people, maybe 10 wear a mask. In her 18-person class, no one does.

A lot of people still wear a mask as a way to be considerate to others.

“I wear one to be courteous to others in the stores,” Mckenna Blake, a freshman studying pre-veterinary medicine, said.

“I understand people who have worries, so I try to respect that by wearing one when asked,” Notarangelo said.” I also don’t want anyone to get sick, especially if they’re higher risk.”

A major factor many students and teachers consider when deciding whether or not they will wear a mask is getting others sick.

“If you’re sick, or if you think you might be sick, I think you should wear a mask,” Schroeder said.

Mask usage can vary from class to class, but overall, fewer and fewer masks are being worn.

“A lot of undergraduate classes do not, especially the lower ones, but from some of the graduate classes I’m in, you will see a lot of students wearing them,” Robert Castaneda, a graduate student studying and teaching statistics, said.