Poll: Students wear masks but don’t distance


Mary Claire Miller

Infographic created from data of a survey of the Millcreek Community

Students have varying degrees of concern when it comes to the pandemic. Some are carrying on in day-to-day life as normal, attending parties and other large gatherings regularly. Others have been a bit more cautious, only attending small gatherings and having a mask in hand whenever they’re going out the door. 

So, how seriously are students taking masks? A Google poll of 60 students in Erie, revealed that 95% always or usually wear their masks in public.

“I choose to wear a mask because it is kind and considerate… People are putting themselves and others at risk when they are not wearing a mask,” says Meghan Longo, a McDowell High School sophomore. 

Some of the poll responses indicated that those surveyed did not know the science of mask wearing or why it is effective. 

Masks can help prevent transmission of illness in high risk areas (for example, in schools, on public transportation and in large social gatherings). Masks are effective because they provide a physical barrier that helps to stop the spread of respiratory droplets that may carry COVID-19. These droplets are emitted when we do normal things such as cough, sneeze or even talk. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household.”

Social distancing is another effective way that the CDC recommends to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The virus is an airborne disease, so staying six feet apart can limit the spread. 

 Even though most students surveyed agreed on the importance of masks, only 28% of those surveyed make an effort to remain socially distant. However, 70% of respondents said that they make an effort to keep their groups small and limit the number of people they spend time with outside of school, with the average group number being between 2-5 people. 

“The more you expose yourself to people, the more likely you are to be exposed to the virus. You don’t know who is hanging out with the people you are spending time with, so you don’t know how many people you are being exposed to,” Longo says. 

When students were asked through the poll if they were satisfied with the United States’ response to the pandemic, 6% didn’t have an opinion, 13% were satisfied, and 81%were not. Most students feel that there should have been a quicker government response, with longer shutdowns and a national mask mandate.