Is it the Right Time to Lift the Mask Mandate?

It’s a Monday morning at 7:30 am, and you are getting ready for school, right before you leave you put a mask on because we live in a world where COVID-19 cases are increasing. As you enter and sit down on the bus, on your right you see a man not wearing his mask, and think to yourself why he isn’t one. 

Given the current conditions of the pandemic that began in early 2020, it’s reasonable to assume that many of us are in a state of uncertainty at this moment. There are several new laws and regulations that we have never seen before. What is the best way to draw the line between safety and comfort? For our health and well-being, we sometimes have to trade comfort. Wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to fight the virus and keep the number of cases down. Wearing a mask has become so normal to us that everyone around us is wearing one and we don’t forget to wear it before we leave the house. In New York City there is currently a mask mandate that they are thinking about lifting. Most people made it a habit to wear their masks. However, there is a small group of individuals who do not like wearing a mask, where their voices and protests are becoming increasingly loud.

Coming into Edison early you would either wait in the cafeteria or auditorium with hundreds of people, then go into the hallways with thousands of people which aren’t safe for us at all since there is no social distance. Now imagine without a mask, this isn’t safe for any of us. 

I asked a few people about their opinions on the mask mandate being lifted. I was talking to Jessica DeOcampo, a senior about what their opinions were about the mandate being lifted. As we were talking she made a point about how she wasn’t willing to put her family and her health in jeopardy. She wouldn’t want to risk herself or others around her. 

“When the mask is lifted, I will continue to wear the mask because I don’t want to risk my health, and I live with my mom and grandparents that are very sick so why would I want to risk them,” she says 

As I was talking to her, Sadia Zaki heard what we were talking about and decided to join. She made a point on why she wouldn’t take it off, she wouldn’t be comfortable taking it off since it’s been 2 years wearing the mask. She also said how in gym class her teacher expects her to take off the mask to make the workout go smoother so they can work harder. 

“My gym teacher thinks that we will take our mask off because it’s easier to work out, but if we all take it off together in that small room, it won’t be safe for any of us… this doesn’t make sense to me at all because what if someone has covid and if they are breathing hard, I can get it,”  she says. 

This is something to keep in mind because even though the mandate is lifted covid is still an ongoing thing. And without the mask it may be easier for others to catch covid, also you never know who has their vaccine. 

On the other hand, I asked a sophomore what he was thinking about the mandate being lifted. And all his friends, including him, are happy that the mask mandate is being lifted because it’s really annoying to wear. “I actually will take my mask off and I don’t care what anyone says because it’s so uncomfortable, especially when we are walking up the hill or working out.”

He also shared a story about how his friend is always forgetting their mask half of the time when they leave the house. “Every time he leaves his house he forget his mask until he comes to the end of the block then has to go back and get it, and by the time he gets out of the bus he is already late for school, so then he has to run up the hill so he doesn’t miss his math class which he is late for every day.”, he says. 

We have been stuck in a world where the mask has been a normal thing for us, and slowly trying to move away from the “2020 norms”, by taking the mask off. Even though it’s being lifted many people have their own opinions on what they will do in the future, they may take it off or keep it on.

Ajrin Chowdhury

My name is Ajrin Chowdhury. I am currently a senior at Thomas Edison High School. I write for the General News section on the Edison Light. I chose this topic because it keeps people updated about current events and what is going on in the school. Since I’m in the Graphic Design shop I love drawing and doing art while listening to music. I enjoy watching TikToks, Netflix, trying new foods, and traveling.