Masks Are Here to Stay

So I got myself a permission to teach in a clear facial shield. My students can see my face, for which they are very grateful. Imagine not being able to see the teacher’s face in a material-heavy course taught in a foreign language.

But do you know how many students I managed to convince to accept the free facial shields I provided and use them?

Zero. Not a single one in a year of teaching. Not in one-on-one meetings, not in class, not in my office, not at any point. I don’t know why. I obviously don’t debate this with students. I provided the option and explained that it’s allowed. I respect their decision.

23 thoughts on “Masks Are Here to Stay

  1. Some of us find masks less confining than full-face shields. You don’t have a band around your forehead mussing your hair, you aren’t looking at the world through a sheet of plastic, you aren’t breathing into a partially confined space including your face, and you aren’t speaking into a mini-echo chamber.

    If you want to see my expression in a mask, look at my eyes.


    1. My friend, there’s no likelihood your hair is more abundant than mine, simply because mine is really gigantic. And my hair stays perfectly fine in the facial shield.

      My point, though, is that this is an obedient generation that won’t stand up for freedom under any scenario.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Public health and safety in an emergency situation override individual concepts of “freedom” that would only result in serious preventable harm to other people — hence the mandated requirements for polio and smallpox vaccinations.

        It hasn’t come to that with the COVID pandemic (and won’t, absent the development of a new strain far worse than Delta). But if it did, the government would have an obligation to order mandated vaccinations for everyone.

        And no, it’s not the same thing at all as forcing people to read certain books, or telling them how to think.


        1. “a new strain far worse than Delta”

          You haven’t been paying attention to the numbers… Delta is crap. It’s a PR ploy to raise flagging interest and only the marks are falling for it….

          The UK was testing more than the entire EU in order to rustle up scary ‘case’ numbers while hospitalization and deaths didn’t move much…

          Check out the ‘daily new cases’ and ‘daily deaths’ charts here:


          1. “You haven’t been paying attention…Delta is crap.”

            Hey, that’s exactly what I said! Armageddon won’t be here until/unless a REAL killer strain of COVID evolves.


          2. When you get tested for COVID, you don’t get tested specifically for Delta or Alpha or Lambda or anything else. If one tests positive today, the test – at least in the US – doesn’t specify the strain.

            Hospitalizations are exploding in Israel. They are projecting more hospitalizations with serious cases in the next month than they had at any time in the pandemic. Whether it’s Delta or Schmelta nobody knows. The vaccines are not doing what many people expected, so it gets blamed on “variants,” on the unvaccinated, on anything. I believe that the only way to end this is to stop expecting the vaccines or any mitigation measures to put a stop to this. We need to accept biological reality. We need to stop playing God.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. We deny biological reality when we perform surgery, especially organ transplants. We totally played God with the smallpox virus. Human civilization wouldn’t be possible without us regularly doing these things.


              1. I heard that liver disease is exploding because of how many people self-medicated with alcohol during lockdown. This is a delayed human cost because liver disease takes time to develop. Drug overdoses are exploding. Suicide, including among children. There are enormous costs to these efforts. This needs to be studied and discussed. What are we doing? What is the ultimate goal? What is the price we are prepared to pay? Since there is no discussion, I have to assume this isn’t about public health at all because we are destroying public health.

                Liked by 1 person

              2. I have to wonder at the frequency of the mentions of smallpox. Is it a talking point on MSNBC or something?

                There are many medical interventions that are possible and that’s great. But many aren’t. It was a widely accepted knowledge in the medical community that respiratory viruses resist human intervention. In spring of 2019, there was a massive pandemic preparedness exercise conducted by WHO that spelled this out as clearly as possible. I read the documents myself.

                Apparently, what was true until 2019 is still true today. Mitigation isn’t working. It’s causing enormous excess mortality. Maybe it’s time to stop trying.

                There’s an enormous difference between “some things work sometimes” and “everything must work every time.”

                Liked by 1 person

  2. Northeastern is requiring masks for all students, and so will many others I imagine.

    The goal posts definitely keep moving. It’s really ridiculous now. On the plus side, I don’t see many people wearing masks or really following those rules; I think most people deep down know there is little risk to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I absolutely despise wearing a mask but think the face shields are even worse: they are flimsy, get fogged up, don’t store easily. Just awful. I imagine many students feel similarly. I keep hoping against hope that we do away with mask mandates. I think they are ruining education. I actually prefer Zoom classes to masked classes.


    1. I got the biology department to spray the shields to prevent fogging, so that worked. But storage and transportation are a bummer, for sure. I 100% prefer for all of it to go but, honestly, I don’t anticipate seeing students’ faces for the foreseeable future. This is really not good for foreign language instruction. I have to strain my hearing to catch what they are saying. It’s all muffled. I can’t help with pronunciation or intonation. But in Zoom teaching, you can’t make them speak at all unless it’s a tiny class size and you can avoid breakout rooms. So we are screwed either way.


  4. As a parent, I keep waiting for universities to give me some sign that they’re not a complete waste of time and money, and they keep failing at it. Every passing year makes it less likely any of my kids will attend college. Not because they aren’t smart enough, but because… why would I do that to them??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Until now, I would have said, “well, there are programs that teach real skills, like mine.” But masks make it impossible for us to teach actual fluent speaking any more.

      We used to have a conversation hour where students practiced speaking. Now we have them record videos of themselves speaking that a TA pretends to listen to. It’s a joke.


      1. We had an appliance guy over this week to fix the stove. He confirmed everything my brother (in the same profession) has been telling me: there’s a dire shortage of competent people who know how to repair, maintain, and build stuff. That market’s wide open, and the people currently working in it would fall over themselves to get an apprentice or an assistant. The pay’s good, and once you know what you’re doing you can work for yourself and set your own prices and hours. I’m counting on apprenticing my guys to their uncle when they’re teenagers. That way, when they reach “college age”… if they do make the catastrophic decision to pursue a degree, they’ll already have a viable career, they have some chance of staying out of major debt, and if the academic thing doesn’t work out… see “viable career” above.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve encouraged my boys to go into trades. Love or hate Mike Rowe, he has a point about blue collar jobs. There is a severe shortage of workers who can fix/repair/build things.


  5. I have been amazed at how gullible and compliant the new generation is. These students are the ones who are the least at risk from COVID and the most at risk from the vaccines — yet they are the first to double-mask and to get vaccinated. I feel like if there is one thing I can teach my children, it is not to be so compliant and to question everything they hear.


  6. I hate the masks. They give me headaches, and there are days when the humidity in the mask is so high it makes it difficult to breathe. If you’re nauseous, forget about that feeling ever going away while you wear one.

    It would be fine if we were allowed face shields at the hospital that actually fit. But no, they’re these giant, unwieldy, floppy pieces of plastic that don’t fit well to the head. Doctors and nurses have access to really nice ones, but lab workers are just peons and don’t count. So if forced to choose between the two, I would pick a mask.

    I completely understand where you’re coming from, though. If I was in your place and had access to a better face shield, I would take it in a heartbeat. Storage would be a pain, but I imagine they could be made to hang quite well.

    Liked by 1 person

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