An 88-year-old University of Georgia professor resigned mid-class after a student refused to wear her mask. Irwin Bernstein, who was classified as a retiree-rehire professor at the school, told the student newspaper the Red & Black that the student hadn’t shown up for the first day of class. When she came in the second day without a mask, he asked her to put one on and she was given one by a fellow student. But when she would not keep it over her nose, complaining she couldn’t breathe before eventually ignoring Bernstein’s requests, he’d had enough. “Whereas I had risked my life to defend my country while in the Air Force, I was not willing to risk my life to teach a class with an unmasked student during this Pandemic,” he told the paper in an email. Within the first 15 minutes of class, Bernstein packed up his belongings and announced, “That’s it, I’m retired,” before walking out, according to a senior at the school.
Bernstein, who said he had Type 2 diabetes, operated under a self-imposed “No Mask, No Class” policy, despite Georgia rules preventing universities from imposing mask mandates. “I am sorry that the pandemic has caused so much dissension. I personally do not agree that stimulating the economy is more important than people’s lives and am disappointed that some people feel that it is,” Bernstein said.