New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | September 18, 2021

Editorial: My thoughts on wearing masks indoors, business regulations, and COVID-19 vaccinations

By Andre Jones | August 24, 2021 3:12 pm

As students begin to return to in-person learning, there has been a lot of discussion and criticism about the wearing of masks in indoor spaces. There have been accusations that the masks aren’t needed and that the concept is a political agenda. There have been arguments that masks are required for health and safety of others.

I’m not here to debate that issue or the government’s stances on masks. I was bound to eventually write my thoughts on this as my goal in this editorial is to encourage discussion.

First, I will preference that these are my opinions. Second, I encourage healthy debate and discussion among each other. It’s okay to disagree on topic areas. Finally, I am writing this as a question-and-answer format so that I can explain my views as quickly and transparently.

Do I believe masks should be worn indoors in a school setting?

Yes. With COVID-19’s variant continuing to progress and students needing the learning environment, I believe masks should be worn indoors.

I don’t like wearing masks, but I do it because I am concerned about the safety of others. What I’m hoping that parents, guardians, and supporters of those who want masks to be optional realize is that I respect their opinion. But while their child may not have a mask on and in the instance that COVID-19 is transmitted to another child, and that child passes away, who is the lawsuit going to fall on? There will be a lawsuit if that happens because of irresponsibility. To top it off, could that legally be defined as involuntary manslaughter if someone knew they could have the possibility of a disease and still transmits it?

I know that there are great staff members in Charles City and New Kent County’s school systems. If a kid needs to take a mask off, I believe arrangements will be made for them to go outside, even to the restroom where they can wash their face for a breather.

Simply put, I rather have a kid breathing behind a mask then not breathing at all.

Should the government dictate if a business requires a mask for service?

No, I don’t. I believe business owners should have the ability to make the choice of who is allowed in and out of their business, especially if it’s privately owned. Patrons have the right to choose a business to receive their services rendered.

Here’s an example: I want to get a flower from Florence’s Florist, and she requires a mask for entry, then I would abide by it. But if I didn’t want to wear the mask, she has a right to refuse it. I could travel down the street to Geena’s Garden where masks aren’t required and get my items there. As a patron, I made a choice on what business to support. As a business owner, they made a choice to render services.

The COVID-19 vaccine

I am not going to tell a person if they should or should not get it. I waited a whole year before I received the vaccine, and even now, I remain skeptical to some extent. I have been blessed to be healthy for most of my life with my last serious illness happening in college almost 20 years ago.

But I got it not for me, but for others. I’m around a lot of people. The thing that finally pushed me over the top to get it was remembering how when I transitioned from elementary school to middle school, I received the measles vaccination.

I remain skeptical because just like any vaccination or cure, there are still a lot of unproven circumstances. Even with the recent full approval of the Pfizer vaccine, to have such clearance in a short period of time is what raises concerns. As my colleague Robb Johnson said in one of his previous editorials, if we can find a vaccine for COVID-19, we should be able to find cures and reliefs for a lot of other diseases including cancer, AIDS, and so many more.

Conclusion

I will leave it at this. It’s your choice to get the vaccine. It’s your choice to wear a mask. But don’t be so naïve and let that choice affect the lives of others. Be respectful of choices others make and let’s discuss the issue instead of criticizing each other for our beliefs and stances.