Pro: No mask mandate

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Genevieve Boutrous '23, Staff Writer

On February 17, 2022, an email blast coming from the Superintendent of the GPPSS announced that masks would be optional for all students and faculty, which came as a surprise for many. As rumors had been circulating about the mask mandate being lifted within the next month, most students felt like a weight was being lifted off their shoulders, as if we were heading back to some sort of normalcy.

As mask wearing has become optional, this allows for the individual to make the decision to wear one or not, instead of having to be given direction by the government. It felt as if people had no freedom to create their own opinions on mask wearing, and as a result lacked a voice in this controversial topic. Due to the enforcement of masks provided by the government, people wouldn’t even be allowed in certain stores and restaurants if they happened to forget a mask, which would ultimately interrupt their plans for the day, and would even create issues when trying to live a normal day-to-day life.

The lifting of the masks represents current scientific data on COVID numbers and the rate of it spreading. As our school system set masks to be optional, that proves that the COVID numbers are decreasing, and that our environment is definitely becoming healthier. In April of 2021, there were a reported 10,588 cases of COVID, whereas in Febraury of 2022, there were 2,545 cases, according to the New York Times. It’s obvious that the rate at which cases have spread has decreased tremendously, so as a result of this great change, it’s only fair that masks become optional.

The biggest motivator when it comes to no mask mandate is ultimately the return to normalcy. For the past two years, it has felt like we’ve all been trapped in this confined bubble that we just couldn’t seem to get out of, which caused immense stress on people. In school, it’s almost difficult to interact with one another without seeing each other’s faces, and it can be especially difficult to understand what others are saying due to the mask covering half of someone’s face. In foregin language classes, reading lips is absolutely crucial when understanding new words, and the fact that so many students had to struggle during those classes because of the interruption of the mask is unfortunate. The lifting of the mask mandate should relieve the stress off of so many people’s shoulders, which is worth everything.