School only allows “modest” face masks for students


PoliteMask cover
Images adapted from: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP via Getty Images and Khaosod
Note: Student image is for illustration purposes only, not from the actual school.

Lockdowns lifting in Thailand does not change the fact there is a mask shortage or that people have to use whatever mask they can get their hands on to protect themselves.

Meanwhile, a school felt a mask’s appearance was more important than its functionality.


The school made a dress code for face masks


PoliteMask billboard
Image credit: Khaosod

According to the billboard in the photo above as shared by Khaosod, the undisclosed school instructed students to wear face masks according to how they’ve instructed:

“[The masks] should be plainly coloured with no patterns. Colors such as white, grey, black, pink, blue, green to name a few.”, the billboard reads.

More glaringly, the instructions included a set of colors according to gender. The girls would wear white or “softer” colours, while the boys white or darker colours.

The choice of colours are actually in line with socks policies already practiced in Thai schools. The difference here is that socks and face masks serve very different purposes, and the latter should not be part of a dress code because of its functionality.


Netizens criticize school for being out of touch


Netizens ridiculed and expressed concerns over the school’s decision, seeing it as unreasonable and more concerned with upholding a dress code.

One commenter said the school’s mask policy makes unnecessary hassle for its students instead of focusing on safety, especially with the mask shortages:

PoliteMask hassle
Source: Mono29 News

Translation: The purpose of a mask is to protect you. Right now, we should wear whatever we can. Please don’t make this a hassle, especially when we’re running out of masks.

Another insisted the school be the one providing the masks because not everyone can afford to follow their rules:

PoliteMask school handout
Source: Mono29 News

Translation: It’s okay to set the rules, but the school should be the ones providing 1-2 masks per student. Each family has differing economic and social standings.

Hopefully the school will take note of criticisms before going forward with such policies when schools reopen on 1st July.


Staying safe to save face


While this school’s mask policy might seem ridiculous, it is not totally outrageous to think why it was implemented. But self-image should not come before functionality regardless of rules, especially in the time of a pandemic.

If a face mask is available, you should use it regardless of what people think of you. It is not a matter of insecurity to want to protect yourself.

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