Tags Posts tagged with "Masks"


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It’s no surprise that face mask use is mandated once again when visiting or working in a store or venue in the state of New York. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said earlier this year if the COVID-19 infection rate kept climbing, the mandatory health protocol would be needed again.

Until Jan. 15, 2022, when the state will reassess, unless an establishment has a vaccine requirement, a mask must be worn by everyone 2 years old and up. The governor announced the statewide mandate that began Monday, Dec. 13, during a press conference last Friday. In addition, businesses that do not comply can face fines up
to $1,000.

According to a recent article in The New York Times, the state’s infection rate last Saturday reflected a 51% jump over 14 days. With more than a 7% seven-day infection rate in Suffolk County, Hochul’s new mandate seems more than appropriate for our communities.

While some people still have been wearing masks either because they aren’t vaccinated or as an extra precaution, many have not since former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) lifted the initial mask mandate in the state.

The news can be frustrating for those who are vaccinated and even received the booster shot. However, Americans have known since the virus first reached our shores that it would take a while to figure out how to lessen transmission, especially since a virus can mutate. With no practice 100% effective — and some people resisting not only wearing masks but getting the vaccine — the virus has continued infecting people and new variants have developed, such as Delta and Omicron. While medical researchers are still trying to understand the virus, why not take extra precautions? Even if they are not guaranteed to stop transmission, they can lessen the chances of spreading the virus.

While face masks can be uncomfortable at times, the protective gear acts as a barrier to protect the wearer from droplets released in the air when someone coughs or sneezes. It also traps the wearer’s respiratory droplets. If someone is sick and they are wearing a mask, they are less likely to give someone else the virus.

When Cuomo issued mandatory business shutdowns in the early days of the pandemic, New Yorkers debated if this was the right approach. A good percentage of people thought it would be the demise of many businesses. Fortunately, many business owners were able to swim with the tide and come up with innovative solutions such as curbside service and selling merchandise on social media if they didn’t have a website.

Now more than ever, local businesses need our support as many of them cannot make it through another round of shutdowns. So, let’s mask up before stepping inside a favorite store, restaurant or theater so that we can keep these places not only open but give them a chance to thrive.

After all, this is the season of goodwill.

Congressman Lee Zeldin. File photo

Last week, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY1) formally announced that he is now in remission from leukemia. 

The Shirley native said that back in November 2020, he was diagnosed with the illness and after nine long months he’s now cancer-free.

It’s impressive. Zeldin has done quite a lot while battling cancer — and keeping it quiet from the public. 

He won his reelection the same month he was diagnosed; he was in Congress when the insurrection in the U.S. Capitol happened in January; he announced his run for governor and has been campaigning for that office since.

While he has been busy at work throughout his treatment, he also has done some things that a typical cancer patient would absolutely steer away from.

We’re happy to hear that he’s healthy again and he has beaten a disease that has taken thousands of lives. But what’s most concerning is that while going through chemotherapy, he chose not to wear a mask and, in fact, has taken a strong stance against them. 

Masks are protecting others — such as Zeldin now — who have compromised immune systems, and who are most at risk. 

It was discouraging to know now that the congressman has held several anti-mask and Unmask Our Kids rallies, where people were in close proximity to each other. 

Zeldin was the lucky one — other people are not always so lucky and with new variants spreading, immunocompromised people could be hit harder.

According to a new study published by University College London, cancer has become an increasing public health priority in the U.K. after vaccines and other measures continued to contain the spread of COVID-19. Findings from the study showed 40,000 late diagnoses of cancer due to a lack of emergency referrals by general doctors and fewer face-to-face appointments. Delays caused by lockdown could result in 10,000 people dying of cancer “significantly earlier” than would otherwise have been the case.

Could the U.S. follow suit? 

We hope that representatives such as Zeldin, who now has personal experience to relate to, will reconsider their stances on anti-masking, vaccinations and general public health. 

The cold months are coming, and germs will be everywhere — we need to keep each other safe. 

Image from Pixabay

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

Welcome to Dan Dunaief HS or DDHS. I know it’s an odd time to start a new high school, but children need to learn, even during a pandemic.

Originally, I was planning to have everyone come to a pep rally on the first day of school. After all the restrictions of last year, it only seemed fitting to bring the kids together in the gym and celebrate the chance to sit in 1950s style wooden bleachers that rock when someone walks a few steps.

But, then, I realized we don’t have a basketball, football or squash team, we haven’t picked school colors, we don’t have a school song and, most importantly, we are in a difficult spot with the pandemic.

I know your kids are exhausted from dealing with the virus. Who can blame them? Aren’t we all?

At first, I thought we’d avoid the whole topic and stick to the basics in school.

But, then, it occurred to me that avoiding a virus that has now affected three school years wouldn’t make it better. We can try not to think about it, but that doesn’t make it go away. Information and knowledge will help these students understand the strange world that surrounds them and might empower them to feel as if they’re doing something about it, even if it’s just learning more about a time that future generations will no doubt study carefully, scrutinizing our every move as if we were some kind of early laboratory experiment.

With that in mind, I gave the curriculum serious consideration. I thought about all the standard ways students have learned.

Ultimately, I decided to turn toward the academic vortex. At DDHS, at least for the first year or so, we’re going to encourage students to study the real challenges of the world around them.

For starters, in our art class, we’re going to have design competitions for the front and back of masks. The winners will provide masks that the entire school will wear each week.

Then, in an engineering class, we’ll work on creating masks that are more comfortable and just as effective as the ones that make our faces sweat. Maybe this class can also figure out how to provide words that flash across the mask when we talk, giving people a better idea of what we’re saying behind our masks. Maybe enterprising students can design masks that cool our faces when we sweat and warm them when we’re cold, that shave or bleach unwanted hair or that act like dry-fit shirts, covering our faces without clinging to them.

In history, we’ll spend at least a semester on the Spanish Influenza. We’ll explore what leaders throughout the world did in 1918 during the last pandemic. We’ll see what worked best and what disappointed.

Our psychology class will devote itself to the conflicts between people’s perceptions of infringements on their individual freedoms and their desire to protect themselves and each other by wearing masks.

Our political science course will delve into how politics became enmeshed in the response to the virus. This class will look at which side gains, politically, amid different public health scenarios.

Science classes will explore why some people get incredibly sick from the virus, while others show no symptoms. We will also study the way the virus works, look at similar viruses and try to understand and track the development of variants.

Math will work with the science department to understand the spread of the virus and to plot various scenarios based on human behavior. Eager students in math will have the chance to demonstrate how sicknesses spread depending on the wearing of masks, the use of vaccines, and the creation of new variants.

Our language arts class will provide an outlet for students to express their hopes, dreams and concerns amid the unique challenges in their lifetime created by the pandemic.

Pixabay photo

Things aren’t back to normal yet, and unfortunately for a few good weeks, we got a taste of what freedom from the pandemic was like. 

People began getting vaccinated, families were reunited, and parties were officially free of restrictions. 

The people that got vaccinated knew they could still be carriers, but a little cold is better than being on a ventilator, right? 

Businesses were thriving at the start of the summer — after more than a year of having their doors shut and no revenue coming in. 

But things turned pretty quickly, and we’re disappointed now. 

The fact that people threw their masks away when Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) lifted the state restrictions was not the brightest move — we should have kept the restrictions just a tad bit longer because now we have the Delta variant and it’s not looking too good. 

Since people (vaccinated or not) have had the chance to breathe again, party again and feel 90% normal again, they don’t want to bring back the masks. 

We understand that. They’re uncomfortable and for us ladies, it takes our makeup off rather quick. 

But we’re keeping them on (again) to keep other people safe. 

Remember in the beginning of the pandemic when everyone was all in this together? We thanked first responders and believed the science. What happened? Why is this, all of a sudden, a hoax? 

Some people cannot get vaccinated right now, and that’s okay. But there are other people who are choosing not to and are not being honest about it. They’re either too lazy or too afraid. 

With schools reopening in a few weeks, the debates are increasing as to whether or not children should wear masks in school. Considering those under 12 cannot get vaccinated yet, and many parents have chosen not to have their children get the shot, we feel it’s imperative that students be required to mask up. With the surge of the Delta variant and the possibility of another one, the virus could potentially spread quickly in classrooms and then in the surrounding communities.

New vaccines, new medications and new things are terrifying — but public health is more important, and we still need to be in this together.

COVID-19 is never going to leave, but we can alleviate it. 

Be smart and do your part to keep your loved ones, neighbors and yourself healthy.

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport will offer its final virtual summer workshop for children in grades K-3 on Tuesday and Thursday,  August 10 and 12 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. This fascinating program will be taught by a museum educator live via Zoom.

Trivia & a Craft:  African Savanna & Warthog Mask

What is your favorite animal in the African Savanna?  Explore the Stoll Wing animal dioramas, play a game of trivia, and create a warthog mask.

Children learn a lot in these creative, science workshops and have fun, too.

Fee: $15. Members are free. Advance registration is required. Call or write to reserve a space: (631) 854-5539 or [email protected]

Port Jefferson Earl L. Vandermeulen High School. File photo by Elana Glowatz

With New York state opening back up since the March 2020 shutdown, businesses can now start resuming normal operations again.

However, four local Suffolk County public school superintendents believe schools have been overlooked when it comes to no longer wearing masks, leaving teachers, parents and students confused and frustrated.

A June 10 letter signed by the Comsewogue, Port Jefferson, Miller Place and Rocky Point school superintendents, directed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New York State Department of Health officials, criticized the one-size-fits-all approach to school mask mandates.

“Our communities need our schools to be able to adapt to updated health guidelines that are applicable to our specific areas, yet we as administrators are constrained by inflexible regulations that are not reflective of individual community positivity or vaccination rates,” the letter said.

In order to avoid any further confusion amongst parents and school districts, the schools solution would be to work directly with local health officials rather than the government.

According to Port Jefferson Superintendent Jessica Schmettan, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services has been extremely helpful in aiding the county’s school districts throughout the pandemic.

Working closely with regional data is something Schmettan feels will be a more effective strategy for mitigation of the virus rather than blanket guidelines for the entire state of New York.

“I have great hope that the governor and the NYDOH will consider our request,” Schmettan said. “We are proud of the work our schools have done through this pandemic. We hope to end the year without restrictions just as they have been removed for other businesses across the state.”
Many parents of the students have made it clear they are also dissatisfied with the state’s mask mandates on school districts, and believe it should be a parent’s choice on whether or not their child should wear a mask.

Rocky Point school district superintendent, Scott O’Brien, said although the state’s mask mandates have been overwhelming for all, students have done an excellent job following the guidelines.

“It has been that level of cooperation from students, parents, teachers and staff that have enabled our schools to successfully stay open and deliver in-person instruction throughout this school year,” O’Brien said. “We are grateful to the entire Rocky Point school community for coming together and making this most challenging school year a success.”

The other superintendent signatories to the letter were Jennifer Quinn, Comsewogue, and Marianne Cartisano, Miller Place.

By creating a unified voice to highlight the importance of local control regarding mask mandates, the four county school districts hope the letter to Cuomo will make a difference for their students, even though the final day of school is June 24.

Photo from Vanderbilt Museum

Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport offers virtual museum workshops for children in kindergarten through Grade 3 in July and August. Workshops will be held via Zoom and will include a virtual tour of the collections, interactive sessions with a museum educator, creative projects, and a complimentary admission to the Museum for a future visit. 

Creative projects will be featured on social media. Workshops include Animal Adventure & Dreamy Collage on July 6 and 8 (Children will need a photo of themselves to include in the collage); Trivia & a Craft:  Oceans & Recycled Plastic Art on July 13 and 15; Big Cats & Mini Animal Diorama on Aug. 3 and 5; and Trivia & a Craft: African Savanna & Warthog Mask on Aug. 10 and 12.

Project materials (not including glue) can be picked up the week before the workshop date. $15 per child/members are free. Advance registration is required to participate. Please call 631-854-5539 to reserve a space.

Photo from Barbara Anne Kirshner

By Barbara Anne Kirshner

LIPSTICK — the outward expression of our inward feelings. If we are happy, we choose cheery colors, if we are down we might gravitate toward the more subdued. Lip color also strategically complements our outfits. For the power suit, we go for bold tones; for comfy weekends, we seek naturals. We celebrate the seasons with rich russet and brown shades for autumn, reds for merry winter holidays, pastels for blossoming springtime and bright playful oranges for carefree summer. 

Lipstick has been our crowning accessory for centuries starting with Sumerian men and women who created it from natural substances like fruits, henna, clay rust and insects. Mesopotamian women ground precious jewels to add color and shimmer to lips. Egyptians like Cleopatra created striking shades of purple and black from carmine dye derived from grounded cochineal insects. 

Through the centuries, lip color has been a barometer for our culture and personal expression. 

In the 19th century, only actors and actresses wore it for stage, though not in public. Sarah Bernhardt, the famous actress, was one of the first to wear lip color in public. 

By 1920, lip products gained a place in everyday lives of women. James Bruce Mason Jr. created the first swivel tube in 1923 which is still used today. When women gained the right to vote, lipstick was their symbol  of feminism.

Lip color gained popularity in the 1930’s heading into the 1940’s when, during World War II, red lips were considered a boost to the morale. Besame’s American Beauty was one of the most popular shades of red.

The 1950’s saw women copying their favorite Hollywood stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn who were glamorously adorned in bold reds. 60% of all teenage girls at the time wore lipstick. Even Queen Elizabeth II got into the craze by creating her own shade to match her coronation robe which was customized by Clarin’s and named after her Scottish country home, The Balmoral.

The 60’s and 70’s saw a variety of lip shades inspired from pop culture. Corals were prominent with Maybelline’s Orange Danger topping the market. Flavored lip products such as Bonnie Bell’s ‘Lip Smackers’ gained popularity especially with the teen market.

Shimmers and glosses were the ‘in’ thing for the 80’s. Bold reds were back as an expression of power dressing. Hot pinks became the rage for the dance crowds and Goth lips for the alternative sub-culture.

In the 90’s environmental consciousness demanded chemical free, more natural formulas for lip products. The big craze of the 90’s was outlining with dark lip pencils and filling in with lighter lipstick. Mac and Urban Decay were born.

Shine and lip glosses were back in the 2000’s. Now, there are endless varieties of lip colors and formulas to match any whim. We can go from that natural look with nudes to outrageous choices like green, yellow and blue.

Lip products evolved into a global multi-billion dollar industry which had been expected to reach 13.11 billion dollars in 2020. This healthy market was on its way to breaking records when COVID hit and we found ourselves shielded behind masks that covered those colorful lips. At first, we continued to paint, but quickly realized not only didn’t anyone see our efforts, but we stained our masks in the process. We were reduced to a simple swipe of clear gloss to moisturize, but no need for anything else.

The lip product market as well as the entire beauty industry drastically fell in 2020 as a result of the pandemic making last year historically one of the worst. McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, predicts makeup sales will continue being soft for the foreseeable future since for a time at least, when consumers return to the workplace, masks will be a required part of the uniform which will further slow lipstick’s recovery.

Anxious for COVID to evaporate as suddenly as it moved in ravaging life as we knew it, we thirst for normalcy. We want to rip off those masks that sequester us from the world so we may once more display our signature look enhanced by every color of the rainbow and then some. We long to return to our creativity applying shines, glosses, sheers, shimmers, creams, frosts, satins, metallics, mattes and pencils. We long for that vibrant or dramatic look that only our old friend lipstick can provide.

BUT until that fateful day we are resigned to — NO LIPSTICK REQUIRED!!


— Gerstell, Emily, Marchessou, Sophie, Schmidt, Jennifer, Spagnuolo, Emma. “How Covid-19 is changing the world of beauty.” McKinsey & Company. May 2020.

— Sengupta, Avipsha. “A Complete History of Lipstick.” Stylecraze.com. October 9, 2020.

— “100 Years of Lipstick: Looking Through Trends Over the Decades.” Beauty Connoisseur.com. October 3, 2019.

Miller Place resident Barbara Anne Kirshner is a freelance journalist, playwright and author of “Madison Weatherbee —The Different Dachshund.”


Deirdre Dubato, president of the Rotary Club of Rocky Point, said that when she first heard of the Million Mask Challenge just after Christmas, she knew her club had to get involved. 

Along with other Long Island-based rotaries, the Million Mask Challenge is inspired to help people in need of masks within the community.

Earlier this month, 40 rotaries from Brooklyn to Montauk gathered in Hicksville to retrieve a batch of masks to distribute to schools, food pantries and shelters. 

The Million Mask Challenge — originally created by Rotary International — began when The Rossi Family Foundation donated hundreds of thousands of masks to the local chapter, in hopes that along with the donation, more masks could be acquired and reach a million people worldwide.

Dubato said that since they gathered in early January, 14,000 adult masks and 1,000 kids-sized masks were brought to different organizations.

“Every soup kitchen, food pantry and school district are having issues finding masks,” she said.

So, they decided to help out by donating to local spots that were in need. The 1,000 children’s masks went to the North Shore Youth Council and to Blessings in a Backpack — which helps students in the Longwood Central School District. 

And it won’t stop there. Dubato said that as long as they keep gaining masks, they will continue to distribute them. 

The Rotary Club of Rocky Point covers the Rocky Point, Miller Place, Shoreham-Wading River, Middle Island and Longwood School districts.

Dubato said they’re always looking for new members. 

“If giving back to the community is your goal,” she said, “Then you are welcome.”

The Port Jefferson Rotary Club is just one of many rotaries across Long Island with the goal to donate a million masks worldwide. Photo from Bob Huttemeyer

The Port Jefferson Rotary Club joined other Long Island-based rotaries to help people in need of masks earlier this month to gather and distribute masks to people who need them in their local communities. 

In a campaign called The Million Mask Challenge — originally created by Rotary International — the Port Jeff Rotary joined 40 other rotaries from district 7255 to gather their share of masks. The goal is to distribute a million masks to those in need worldwide. 

According to Bob Huttemeyer, program coordinator of the rotary, the district that includes Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens, gathered in Hicksville on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to pick up almost 4,000 masks. They also ordered 5,000 more. 

Huttemeyer said that as of right now, they distributed the masks to 24 different local organizations and groups who could use extra masks. 

“Everyone was excited to fill a need,” he added. “We were happy to bring this to the local community.”

The rotary, like the others across the island, devote their time and services to helping the community. Huttemeyer said that throughout the pandemic, they raised more than $12,500 to donate to Open Cupboard Food Pantry.

“If there’s more to be had,” he said, “We’re there to help.”

Huttemeyer said that the local rotary is an organization that brings so much to the community and will continue to gather and distribute masks to meet the one-million mark. He added that are always looking for new members or donations. 

Right now, the Port Jefferson Rotary is holding small, in-person and hybrid meetings at Café Spiga in Mount Sinai on Tuesdays at 12:15 p.m. 

To make a donation to the Port Jefferson Rotary, you can mail a check to PO Box 461, Port Jefferson, NY, 11777 or visit portjeffrotary.org.