On March 12, 2022, California decided to lift the mask mandate and wearing masks will no longer be mandatory indoors. EMUHSD requires students and staff to continue wearing masks until April 1st, after which the district will issue a new policy. The Los Angeles Unified School District mask mandate ended on March 25th. Regardless of these developments and shifts in mask policies caution should be taken. Masks should definitely be recommended even though the mandate has been lifted. Most students aren’t comfortable with removing their mask in public, because of safety concerns. Students are paranoid that if they take off their mask, they’ll risk getting other people being sick. “You know school is a crowded place and you’re going to interact with people and socialize,” said Jocelyn Calleja ‘25, “it’s not gonna be as sanitary as it was once and now that it’s just being lifted, I feel like more people are going to be at risk of Covid.”
Teachers are also concerned about the mask mandate being lifted. “Some students won’t be conscientious and cough and sneeze without going outside or covering their mouth,” Mr. Johnson, the journalism advisor stated. “I will continue to wear a mask even if the mandate is lifted. Until we can positively say that the pandemic is over, I would feel better wearing a mask indoors for my protection and for the safety of my students,” said Mr. Escamilla. If the school does lift the mask mandate, students who are at higher risk of getting the virus should switch to online for their safety and the safety of students.
Everyone has their own motivations for continuing to wear masks, whether it’s for safety concerns or personal reasons. Regardless of the situation, we should continue to wear our masks. It’s still widely circulating and neither infection with a previous variant nor vaccination will protect you from getting sick. Every round of Covid is a new chance for it to get you, or at the very bare minimum for you to end up with a long Covid, and we don’t know how it will affect you from prior infection and might set you up for more serious conditions the next time. I’m aware that Covid is common.
This isn’t like the flu; it is far more dangerous to the majority of those who contract it, and there is much more we don’t know. Nobody should make light of the risk. It’s ideal if we keep wearing masks until the number of Covid cases start slowing down and we don’t get that many cases so maybe a couple thousand cases a day. Because not everyone is eligible for the vaccine and not everyone has received it yet, it’s best if we keep our masks on so that the unvaccinated (and vaccinated) students do not become ill. It’s critical that we encourage students to switch from online to in-person classrooms in order for them to have better learning quality.
The reason why most schools closed for a year was because most people didn’t do their part and get vaccinated and wear a mask, either because of political opinion or just simply apathetic about the situation. Even though vaccinated people can still catch and spread the Delta variant, the least we could do is wear a mask. I understand that wearing masks is a bit of a stretch because they are unlikely to protect anyone in a closed environment such as a classroom, but I believe that if there is even a remote chance that it will save someone’s life, it’s worth it. We must all take responsibility and make commitments to assist our students and the wider public to not get sick.