Masks no more, for now

Melina Nicou, Op-Ed Editor

For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, students were allowed to come to school without a mask on March 2, as per Governor Hochul’s decision to lift the school mask mandate in all New York public schools.

The Courant believes that the end of the mask mandate came at the perfect time as many individuals are experiencing “COVID fatigue,” vaccination rates are rising, and the infection peak for the omicron variant seems to have passed. The Courant feels that because Governor Hochul made this decision using guidance from the Center for Disease Control, it is the appropriate decision to have been made. 

The Courant thinks that the infection rate within the school would not be dramatically affected by lifting this mandate as many students previously did not use their mask correctly and these students would likely stop wearing masks either way. However, students who previously wore their mask correctly would likely continue to practice this habit. 

Although The Courant is excited to begin to move forward from the pandemic, the security the mask provides is a component that The Courant will miss. Masks have been proven to protect people and have been part of the large success in reducing the spread of COVID-19. The Courant feels that being in closer proximity to other students is safer to do when wearing a mask.

The Courant feels that with the end of the mandate, students may experience anxiety as the amount of judgment from their peers might increase. Individuals who remove their masks might face judgment as others may deem it inconsiderate to those who are immunocompromised. Individuals who continue to use their mask could also face judgment from those who feel it is no longer necessary. 

The Courant does still believe that to maintain the safest environment, students might want to consider using their masks for large events and gatherings such as Battle of the Classes and continuing social distancing when necessary. 

The Courant is excited to experience the transition back to a sense of normalcy. 🔳