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WNIJ Perspectives
Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: The Changing Mandate

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Guidance keeps changing all the time.  Wear a mask outdoors, you don’t need to wear a mask outdoors!  Student desks should be 6 ft apart in the classroom…well, maybe it is okay if they are 3 feet apart. Don’t touch your pets if you have COVID.  Didn’t you hear about that tiger that got COVID from his zookeeper?  Well, actually, maybe your pets won’t give you COVID.

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It can be confusing, and frankly, a bit overwhelming. To be honest, it reminds me of all the changing “Consent” campaigns I had thrown my way in college.  No means No!  Get a Yes! And all that helpful advice like: cover your drink, don’t walk alone, always carry pepper spray! People painted the world as a terrifying place where everyone and everything was trying to harm you, but now that we’ve freaked you out, don’t be a total bummer, okay?

What if, instead of focusing on how much we can get away with, what the exact science tells us, or where we can skirt the line of what is legal, we focused on taking care of each other, showing empathy, and prioritizing the safety and comfort of those around us?  Do I need to wear a mask 100% of the time as a vaccinated adult?  No.  But if it makes my neighbor feel more safe and more comfortable, am I willing to?  Absolutely.  We’re all in this together and it’s time we started thinking like it.

I’m Lynnea Erickson Laskowski and that’s my perspective.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

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