To Mask or Not to Mask

More students deciding to go maskless

Coronavirus had its first case in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The disease quickly spread across the entire world making cases escalate at a high rate. As a response to this, the world went into a complete lockdown. Precautions had to be taken in order to get control of the virus.

One of the precautions was that masks were enforced in order to decrease the spread of Covid which started April of 2020. People had to wear masks in public places, to schools, and stores. However, on March 21st, 2022, the mask mandate was lifted after Covid cases had started decreasing, although the majority of students continued to wear their mask for the rest of the 2021-2022 school year. 

Three years into the pandemic has led to many students in schools to stop wearing their masks, and slowly go back to “normal”. At the start of this school year, more students were seen without their masks, yet there are still many who still wear their masks.  

According to an informal survey of 471 students, 79.8% don’t wear masks to schools, and 20.2% continue to do so. The reasons for why they continue to wear them or not, vary. “It’s a safety precaution for myself and my family,” senior Isabella Valdez said. “Covid is still a thing so I want to take precautions.” On the other hand, are those who do not feel the need to not wear them anymore. “No, I don’t wear a mask, because nobody else wears them,”  junior Alexander Espinoza said. ”If I’m being honest I overheat with it.”

 More than 50% out of the 471 believe that Covid is now a minor issue – it’s still around, but it has become more normalized. “It seems to still happen but it’s more regulated and we have developed resources to prevent it from happening which helped a lot to decrease the population’s death,” junior Yesenia Alfaro-Puga said. “Covid continues to be a big issue but it has now been normalized. It’s seen as a dangerous situation but it’s almost taken as the flu or a bad cold,” senior Betzaida Gabriel said. 

Although the majority of the students don’t wear masks anymore, most of them do believe that Covid is still an ongoing issue. “I do believe Covid still exists because it’s still possible to get it, but I don’t think it’s as deadly as it was before at the height of the pandemic,” junior Melissa Chavarin said. Covid is seen or heard about less now, but it’s most definitely still an ongoing virus, but student’s feel they’ve taken the right precautions to be able to live “normal” again without a mask.

We want to think that Covid will eventually be gone forever, and hope to be back to our “normal” lifestyles as soon as possible. However, masks are still being required in some public places as a way to protect the vulnerable people, which also include the vaccinated people. “Several places such as clinics, dentists, hospitals, because there is more of a chance to get exposed to the virus,” junior Ireland Rodriguez said. With the enforcement of wearing masks inside medical buildings, it’s a way to help everyone, vaccinated or not. If we truly want to go back to “normal” life, taking precautions will have to continue. 

Covid has left a lot of effects in the world that are going to be hard to forget. It has also changed the way we live our lives, but there has also been something good left from it. Before Covid hit, if students felt a little sick they might stay home or go to school if it was minor, but it would still manage to get people sick. However, students now wear their masks to school whenever they feel sick, which is an important thing that could continue to help in the future. “When I wear a mask, it’s because I am running with a sore throat or coughing a little,” senior Marco Nunez said. “Making sure that others remain healthy is my key priority when I do wear a mask.” Other students also wear their masks as a way to take precautions for their own safety and others. “When people around me are sick with Covid, I wear a mask because I don’t want to catch it and spread it to other people,” sophomore Omar Gonzalez said. Overall, even if masks are not required anymore, students are being more mature and caring for themselves and others.