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Thu Aug 26, 2021, 06:23 PM

My undergrad seminar earlier today.

The lectures for my large-enrollment class are still online, but my seminar for first-year students (on dinosaur art and monsters of folklore - lotsa fun) is face to face, and today was our first meeting.

For the most part, this is an excellent group. They asked a lot of good questions. It's an honors group, so these are all among our best students.

One thing, though. We're not allowed to tell students to wear masks in public universities in my state. I thus couldn't require masks in the classroom. I did, however, indicate that I was recovering from a nasty chest cold (I'm still coughing from it), and that I'm a chronic asthmatic who had a severe attack on Tuesday. It's been extremely humid, and something is pollenating that I desperately want to see wiped out to extinction - so although the issue isn't acute now, I'm still wheezing. I also have a 5-year-old daughter who can't be vaccinated yet. For those reasons, I asked that the students strongly consider being masked in the room.

Masks are available at every door to the building. They were also available in my classroom, though I don't know if that's true of every classroom - but every student who wants a mask can very easily obtain one.

Out of a group of 21, 18 were masked.

What bothers me is that the three unmasked students gave me a look that basically said, "I don't give a fuck about your problems."

While we're not allowed to require masks, we're allowed to explain why we ourselves wear them. (The same is true for vaccines.) I really want to use "because I don't want to be ashamed of myself" and "because I'm not a moron" as reasons, but I suspect I'd get called out for it.

I never thought I'd see the day when asking for basic decency and consideration of the welfare of your fellow person would become a political litmus test.

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