Understand I do not. Quraishi said on Twitter that the host actually tried to deny her a refund when requested. “I noticed you are new to Airbnb,” the host reportedly wrote Quraishi. “I can’t stress how important it is to familiarize yourself with all the information a host provides before you spend your hard earned money.” In turn, Quraishi tagged the vacation rental company in a post. “I literally canceled 15 minutes after making the reservation once I read her ‘rules’. @Airbnb – I’d like some answers,” she wrote.
Quraishi was issued a refund but not without much frustration. She added in another tweet: “I’d like to point out that I actually *had* COVID-19 in February (from which I am still not fully recovered) and – look – I’m not really a pearl-clutcher but holy shit this is infuriating and offensive.”
What’s worse than a random Airbnb user’s battle against science is that educators responsible for crafting young minds are similarly advocating against a lifesaving response to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic—and that is wearing masks. “Like sand through the hourglass ….” Jessica Mason Pieklo, an executive and podcast host on legal issues, tweeted when she shared a link to a radio story about the Michigan school that is in the midst of a legal battle.
The Resurrection School in Lansing named Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon in a lawsuit after he instituted a mandate last October requiring the use of face coverings at schools. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hadn’t originally required masks in schools but later changed course in a fight over pandemic response that ultimately ended in Gordon’s resignation, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Gordon was subpoenaed to testify before a House Oversight Committee, and he said the governor asked him to resign before he did so as part of an agreement including $155,000 in severance and a nondisclosure agreement. He said she told him “it was time to go in a new direction.”
Whitmer isn’t named as a defendant in the suit, but she is mentioned throughout the complaint. “Since the beginning of March, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has exercised control over almost all areas of life,” plaintiffs said. “From March through the filing of this Complaint in October, the Governor has issued one hundred and ninety-two executive orders, citing the spread of COVID-19 as justification for this extraordinary exercise of authority.”
The Resurrection School, which has been conducting in-person learning since last August, is set to argue on Wednesday in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that it is unconstitutional to require children to wear masks when doing so would violate “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Jacob Allstott, the school’s principal, described the Catholic K-5 institution in Lansing as a “family-oriented” space “where students are encouraged to reach their God-given potential.” “We focus on the basics, we wrestle with the truth, and we appreciate the goodness and beauty found in all of God’s creation,” Allstott wrote on the school website.
The school argued that humans are created in God’s image and masks prevent the public from seeing that image. Stated in the suit:
“In accordance with the teachings of the Catholic faith, Resurrection School believes that every human has dignity and is made in God’s image and likeness. Unfortunately, a mask shields our humanity. And because God created us in His image, we are masking that image. Masks also make us anti-social. They interfere with relations. As the Catholic faith teaches, we are relational beings. And our existence as relational beings points to the Holy Trinity. A mask is disruptive to this essential element of the Catholic faith, and it is disruptive to the teaching of young children for these and other reasons. Plaintiffs share these deeply held religious beliefs.”
A parent in the lawsuit said masks exacerbate her student’s struggle with speech issues. “Wearing a facial covering exacerbates her struggles with speech and impedes her teacher’s ability to see her mouth to determine if her mouth is in the proper position to say letters and sounds correctly,” plaintiffs said in the suit. They also deemed masks a “symbol of oppression,” a violation of rights to “bodily integrity and personal autonomy free from government interference,” and an “attempt by the government to control the citizenry.” “Wearing a mask conveys the message that the wearer has surrendered his or her freedom to the government,” plaintiffs argued in the suit.
Not wearing one, however, can impact much more than the debated right to spread a deadly virus.