August 1 Day 876: Safe Journeys to MAA MathFest Everyone

Let the posts about traveling to MAA MathFest 2022 commence. My own awkward boarding selfie (#ABS) graces the cover of this post.

I have been traveling a fair amount this summer and each time I am in an airport, the number of people wearing masks seems fewer and fewer. Even my friend Allison commented on the photo

It certainly looks that way in the photo but pictures can be deceiving.

I was fortunate to board the plane early in the process and decided to collect data. As passengers entered the main cabin, I typed “m” if they were masked and “f” if their face was exposed. Here is the raw data:


You might ask why are some letters capitalized and others lowercase? That is the iPad thinking I want to capitalize the start of a new line.

Why does the letter “d” shows up in the data stream? I guess that I moved my hand on the iPad keyboard. Since “d” is to the immediate left of “f” and very far away from “m”, I assume the “d”s are really “f”s.

I counted 73 unmasked and 55 masked passengers. Admittedly, its only partial data since this accounts for 128 passengers of a possible 159 (according to the airline seating chart). Approximately 43% of the passengers were masked, 57% unmasked. Thus I was not the only one. The gentleman sitting next to me was masked but you can’t tell by my picture. And for many people we are only seeing the upper half of their faces.

Why do I still mask when traveling? I don’t know about you, but the only time I receive an exposure notification through my phone app is after passing through an airport.

I know too many people that have tested positive either during or after a summer travel adventure (including my own husband who also masks when traveling.) Getting to MathFest is too important to me. I just can’t take the risk.

If you are coming to MAA MathFest, I hope you stay safe on your journeys. And I look forward to reconnecting in person.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

One thought on “August 1 Day 876: Safe Journeys to MAA MathFest Everyone

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