There I was, chatting away with a friend eating my bacon, egg and cheese croissant in the Hub when I noticed something was off. Out of the corner of my eye I saw three men ordering their food without masks on. This was peculiar because I have only seen a group of people order without masks on in the Hub once before which was a group of high schoolers. However, these were three adults. Once they turned around, I came to the realization that among the mask-less men were not Northwestern students, but two members of the president’s cabinet and another staff member.
However, we all know there are always two sides to every story. After pondering the encounter, I came to a few conclusions. Maybe the group thought that they would be in and out in 14 minutes and 59 seconds. If this was the case, they obviously wouldn’t have exposed the person behind the counter to COVID-19 because despite COVID-19 spreading through airborne transmission, it obviously has enough courtesy to wait 15 minutes. This is much more than the germs on the floor give us with a mere five seconds.
Second, they might have figured that if they did test positive, they could just wait till the fourth day since they were in the Hub to get their test so the person behind the counter would not have been exposed or contact traced. This is because COVID-19 not only waits 15 minutes but only decides to infect someone precisely three days before the exposer takes their test. How considerate.
While they were in the green regarding the first two thoughts of mine, they made an honest mistake. When we go to chapel, we are required to sit in groups of three as it obviously reduces the risk of outbreak. When the group of three approached the counter the person behind it made it a group of four, a risk we cannot take in such a vulnerable time. If it’s not safe in the house of God, it definitely is not in the Hub. However, this is an honest mistake we all make from time to time.
So, maybe they weren’t in the wrong according to the technical guidelines. However, they forgot about the mask mandate that has been placed on every building on campus since the beginning of the school year. This also raises its own slew of questions. Was a royal mandate sent out from the president’s mansion allowing certain people to go mask-less across campus? If this was so, I feel like the student body should be informed of such a decree.
Romans 13:1 reads “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” While there are times to break the rules placed above us, that is for religious reasons, not slight inconveniences. I will be the first to say that masks are annoying, but they are required in buildings on campus. While this verse would let the royal decree have validity, I feel that it is important that campus leaders mask up like every other Raider is asked to do, even if ordering food mask-less makes you stand out.
Jesus carried a cross as a sacrifice to save us and set an example for how to live. NW made a sacrifice so we could be on campus this semester, requiring masks to be worn. So just as Jesus’ example of love was the catalyst to the end goal of the sacrifice, the leadership’s example of wearing masks is critical for others to get on board. I do not think it is too much to ask that campus leadership set an example for their students by carrying their “cross” of wearing a mask, a small cross in comparison to Jesus’.