By: Sarah Yi — Editor-in-Chief
As Covid cases begin to die down after almost two years of the pandemic, more and more schools are planning to start to lift their mask mandate, effective for the end of February or March.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker says in a statement that it is time to lift the mask mandate in schools. “With Massachusetts a national leader in vaccinating kids, combined with our robust testing programs, it is time to lift the mask mandate in schools and give students and staff a sense of normalcy after dealing with enormous challenges over the past two years,” said Baker.
Sharon High School Senior Hannah Kwon says that she does not think it is appropriate to change the mask policy because there’s a lot of covid cases. “It’s very transmittable, especially with omicron,” said Kwon.
Kwon says she thinks covid cases will spike if we lift the mask mandate in schools. “No masks equals more chances of transmitting and catching covid,” she said. Kwon adds that she would be upset if Sharon lifts their mask mandate. “I would choose to keep my mask on whenever I can,” Kwon said.
Sharon High School Senior Niki Murthy says she feels like with the pattern that we’ve seen, there’s always a giant spike then it decreases, and then another giant spike. “I feel like it’s too early to trust that it won’t spike again some time in the near future,” said Murthy.
“I think there are a lot of factors that play into it and I think it’s a little premature considering the spike has just recently started to go down,” added Murthy. She says it probably is not an appropriate time but it definitely depends on if there is a vaccine mandate.
She says that she feels like if Sharon lifted the mandate, the decision would probably just be going on with what surrounding towns are doing and what the government is mandating. “I would keep wearing a mask even though I am vaccinated and others are vaccinated, it doesn’t mean that you can’t transmit or catch covid,” said Murthy.
“I wouldn’t feel too comfortable with lifting the mask mandate in school but I think if they are following policies of other areas, I guess it won’t be too out of line, even if those policies won’t be exactly just at the moment,” Murthy added. She says that if transmission is lower when you are vaccinated, then there should be a requirement for proof of vaccination before participating in lifting the mandate.
Kwon also says she will feel really uncomfortable when people are unmasked because it would make her very anxious. “I would wait until there is good news from the CDC before coming to school without a mask this school year, then I’ll be comfortable,” said Kwon.
Kwon says she definitely thinks there should be a vaccination requirement and proof of vaccination. “You’re just admitting you choose to spread covid if you refuse to prove you’re vaccinated,” Kwon said. “Schools should keep track of who is vaccinated and who is not by submitting documents like your physical exams to the nurse or bringing your vaccination card every day to be checked prior to entering the school.”
“A lot of people have been healing from covid very fast like it is just a sickness, but I don’t think it’s worth it because a lot of people also aren’t getting the vaccination,” Kwon added. She says that she doesn’t know about Sharon but knows a lot of people in general are choosing not to get the vaccine. “For now we should keep the mask,” said Kwon.
Murthy says she thinks it is premature and the numbers are just starting to decrease from this massive spike and nobody knows if it won’t happen again. “I feel like just waiting a few weeks just to see if there’s an uptick again would probably be a better route than immediately being optimistic,” said Murthy.