Con: Mask mandate should remain in place


Grace Wininger '23, Supervising Copy Editor

The end of the Wayne County mask mandate felt like something out of an indie-pop high school movie – everyone ripping off their masks to gulp in a breath of cool winter air, then sprinting off to see their friends in the hallway, mask-less for the first time in what felt like forever. It felt fantastic to finally not have my glasses fog up with hot air, be able to smile and have other people see it, to drink water without getting yelled at to “pull my mask back up.” But the question remains, what will that day of face-freedom cost?
Omicron, the most recent COVID-19 variant, is considered far more contagious than the other variants we’ve seen so far. Additionally, its symptoms are less severe and can be spread even to vaccinated individuals. In order to combat this, the CDC recommends following “prevention strategies such as wearing a mask in public indoor settings…washing your hands frequently, and physically distancing from others” according to their statement on November 26, 2021. The funny thing about schools is there’s not enough room to spread out. Desks are right next to each other, and in many classrooms, students share group tables. If no one wears a mask, this variant could take out hundreds of students. This exact thing happened during midterm week a few months ago – without masks, what’s to stop it from happening again?
Masks have been proven to work time and time again. According to a study by Duke University, the number of cases per 100,000 residents in states without masks is ten times the number in states still requiring masks. To put it simply, the pandemic is not over yet. We may no longer be on lockdown, but there is still a virus that could cause serious harm or death if contracted by the wrong person. We’ve seen how keeping masks has worked in Europe and Asia- their death rate is far lower than ours. Wearing masks for a little bit longer could bring our state so much closer to eradicating COVID-19 for good.
It’s annoying, believe me, I know. Nobody enjoys wearing a piece of cloth around their face. But sometimes we have to do things that we don’t like for our own good. If we really want this pandemic to come to an end, if we really want to go back to normal, we have to hold out for just a little bit longer. I still wear my mask in the school building because I know the risks. Do you?