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University News

Wearing is Caring

Masks, essential to controlling COVID-19 spread, have also become campus fashion

Posted in: Health, Homepage News, University

collage of students wearing masks on campus

Wearing masks was not what the Povolo quintuplets had in mind when they pictured their college experience. But as they navigate a semester like no other, Victoria, Masha, Ashley, Michael and Marcus are making the most of a semester where face coverings are part of everyday life.

“It’s been a smooth ride,” says Victoria.

The masks, along with social distancing, handwashing, ventilation and online self-screenings, have helped to slow the spread of COVID-19 and allow the University to provide students with as much in-person, on-campus instruction and activities as possible under the circumstances.

And in a significant update to its guidance on face coverings, the CDC now says wearing a mask also protects you, not only those around you.

It’s also provided for creative expression as the masks have become an essential fashion accessory on the Montclair State campus.

Starting college during a pandemic isn’t what freshman quintuplets, from left, Masha, Victoria, Michael, Ashley and Marcus, expected when they decided to attend Montclair State together.

As November temperatures reached into the 70s, the freshman Povolo quintuplets walked around the campus, their plain black and blue masks a contrast to the brilliant yellows and reds of campus foliage at its peak.

“I would love to buy a camel mask or a mask with the Italian flag,” says Marcus Povolo, “It’s just hard to find.”

Montclair State mandates that everyone who comes to campus to work, study or visit, whether they are here every day or only some days, take the Hawk Check self-assessment. Other precautions include a surveillance testing program and free, on-campus flu vaccination clinics.

Student wearing mask in new college hall atrium
Melanie Cordova styles a Halloween-themed mask and outfit.

Wearing masks is part of this new normal, a simple, but critical tactic for protection and slowing the spread of the virus. “There are other precautions to take, but I believe wearing masks is an important one,” says Melanie Cordova, a sophomore in the School of Nursing.

Cordova coordinates her masks and outfits. “I personally have a lot of masks and I like to make all of my masks scream ‘me.’”

 The masks of Chuks Diayi make a fashion statement.

Chuks Diayi, a senior majoring in Marketing, makes aesthetic choices when choosing face coverings. “I look for solid colors, nothing fancy, to wear on a regular basis. The more eye-catching masks I wear are versatile and fit with every colorway of clothing that I own. My black mask is ‘mad’ nice and definitely my favorite.”

Carlie Van Tassel says she keeps her face coverings handy.

“Masks have become the ‘new norm’ for everyone, says Carlie Van Tassel, a freshman Biology major. “I always make sure I have some around. I leave one by the door and some in the car.

“As for style, since they are so important, having a fun mask can lighten the mood during times like these.”

Story by Staff Writer Marilyn Joyce Lehren

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