Face Coverings 101 – Your Actions Matter
Many counties in the state of Florida and around the U.S. are making mask wearing in public mandatory, and this is not without reason. In addition to physical distancing and proper and frequent hand-washing, wearing a cloth face covering is one of the consistent messages from health authorities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities healthy.
Mask wearing can lower the risk of transmission between people, but that risk varies with the number of people wearing masks. For instance, if we have two people, one being a carrier for COVID-19 and the other a healthy person, the risk of transmission may look something like this:
- Both unmasked –> high risk
- Carrier unmasked, healthy masked –> medium risk
- Carrier masked, healthy unmasked –> medium risk
- Both masked –> low risk
As so many cases of COVID-19 are asymptomatic (positive for the virus but not showing symptoms), it is incredibly important that everyone wear a mask, because one of the best measures to prevent a positive person from spreading the disease is for them to wear a mask. One report from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE) at the University of Washington projects nearly 180,000 U.S. deaths by October, but that number could be reduced by around 30,000 if at least 95% of the population wears a mask or face covering.
Stetson University also has a face covering policy in place, effective immediately: “Wearing of a cloth face covering is required on all Stetson University campuses, including all indoor and outdoor spaces, except in the following areas:
- In private spaces: an office space at least 6 feet away from others, private offices, individually used study rooms, residential rooms
- Outdoors when physically remote from others (recommended to be at least 10 feet or more from others)
- In the gyms or athletic facilities during training, but only if participants are able to physically distance at least 6 feet and protective measures are in place (do not share equipment; disinfect equipment between users)
- In public spaces while eating or drinking, but users should seek to physically distance 6 feet and to return to use of face coverings when not eating or drinking
- In residence hall restrooms, but users are asked to physically distance 6 feet within the space.
Things to consider if you are debating whether to wear a mask:
- If you haven’t been tested, you likely can’t tell whether you are sick or not, so wear a mask.
- It is often impossible to tell if another person is immunocompromised and at higher risk, so wear a mask.
- Wearing a mask or proper face covering does not reduce oxygen levels.
- If you are headed to a place where physical distancing is hard to maintain, wear a mask.
Think critically and think with empathy. It may be strange, and it may be uncomfortable at first, but it could potentially save someone’s life. Think about your loved ones, friends, family, the cashier at the grocery store, your coworkers. Reduce the risk, slow the spread, and please, wear a mask.
Any member of the Stetson community who has been to campus in the last 14 days and feels they may have come into direct contact with a person who is positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing the following symptoms: fever over 100.4, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, possible nausea/diarrhea, possible loss of taste/smell – should alert Stetson immediately. Fill out this online form: Stetson University: COVID-19 Report a Concern Form. During business hours, call Health Service (386-822-8150). After business hours, call Public Safety- DeLand (386-822-7300); Gulfport (727-343-1262). If you are concerned about someone else’s exposure, also let us know – don’t just tell them to do so. This applies to our DeLand and College of Law students, faculty and staff.