Thinking about a mask-less future

Masks may soon be a thing of the past at Stewart, but Panthers Now staff are wary

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Jenny S.

If and when the mask rule goes away, it won’t mean the end of mask anxiety.

As the surge in coronavirus cases brought by the Omicron variant recedes across the United States, governors in several states have started lifting mask mandates for indoor public spaces and schools. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday that the mask mandate for most indoor places — including in schools — would end March 21.

Exactly how that will occur in the Tacoma School District hasn’t been determined.

Panthers Now will be reporting next week about how students feel about a potentially maskless future at school. For now, here’s how Panthers Now staffers see the situation:

Quite a bit of people in Washington (and the U.S as a whole) have ruled that mask shouldn’t be worn. Here at Stewart not a lot of students participate in the correct usage of masks. Some will wear them under their nose, some under their chin all together. To me it’s concerning. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable knowing that a lot of the kids I’m attending school with don’t follow safety precautions, especially when your huddled and squeezed into hallways together. On one side of it, I understand someone not being able to wear a mask because of a disability or sensory issues. But I think if you don’t struggle with those things, you should stick by the rules. I’ve noticed that every couple months Covid-19 cases go down. But then once mandates change, they spike. I think that if we really want to stop the spread of Covid we need to keep forcing mask rules and keep recommending vaccinations. To be honest, I believe to a certain point that it becomes selfish. Many turn Covid safety into politics when it’s you’re health. Others who are immune-comprised can’t do day-to-day things because they don’t want to get sick and have the risk of dying. Overall, I believe that masks need to stay mandatory.

— Madison G.

Masks have been a thing we have been wearing for awhile now but thinking of not wearing them is a hard topic to think about. I think that they shouldn’t remove them just yet because Covid isn’t quite gone yet and feel that they should maybe wait a little longer before lifting the mask mandate.

When I wear a mask, I feel kind of safe and when I’m not wearing a mask in any public spaces I sometimes feel weird. Although sometimes it’s hard for me to breathe because I have a breathing issue, I can still bear it throughout the day. So it’s really not that hard to wear your mask properly.

I think the criteria to meet for lifting masks are if Covid cases begin to go lower and maybe it can be optional if you still want to wear your mask even if the mask mandate gets lifted.

— Raejeny P.

There are a lot of people that are tired of masks, and I get it, but I think the mask mandate should be longer until summer. My idea is that over the summer there should be no masks, and scientists should study and compare how summer was last year with masks and how summer is going to be this year with no masks. If the Covid cases rise during summer without masks then masks stay on next school year, and if it was the same as last year’s summer or lower then no masks during the school year.

— Mckayla P.

Wearing a mask honestly makes me feel more comfortable and secure from Covid. I don’t want to stop wearing masks, not because I feel insecure without it since I’ve gotten so used to wearing a mask that I’m fine with wearing a mask and would not have any issues if we have to wear them for longer. But it will raise Covid cases higher since we wouldn’t have something to protect us from it. I know a lot of people will say, “Oh but we have the vaccine.” Well yeah the vaccine helps but there is still chances for you to get Covid and masks help us be more protected from Covid. Masks should stop being required when we know Covid is fully gone but I doubt that will be soon.

— Lily R.

Masks have been a required thing for a long time, and it’s been long enough for me to get used to it so not wearing masks is a very debatable thing to talk about. Especially with Covid sill here, I don’t think that I will feel as safe not wearing masks. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not that I like masks; I just like what’s best for me and my family.

Currently, wearing masks is a required thing in my school but based on the article saying, “And by day’s end, the governors of Illinois, Rhode Island and Washington said that they, too, would loosen coronavirus rules.” We most likely are going to expect some changes in the mask requirements.

Masks are not a comfortable thing for me, and a lot of other people, and I do hope that one day we will be able to live in a place where masks are not needed and Covid does not exist anymore. But for now, I think we’re not ready yet.

— Yen N. 

At my school we have to keep our masks over our nose and under our chins, teachers also check the hallways during passing period to make sure masks are worn correctly. I like wearing masks because it makes me feel a little safer at school, masks aren’t uncomfortable for me and I’m completely fine with them. There are still so many Covid cases and kids getting sent home because of it and I think not wearing masks will just make things worse. I don’t think getting rid of masks will be safe at all and we would just end up back to square one, not even being able to go to school in real life. 

— Tori H.

Stewart Middle School currently has masks for students and staff mandatory. I personally don’t have any negative feelings about it, it’s made to keep people safer; why would we complain? However, I have noticed that communication can be a tad bit difficult with masks, the fabric makes most of the words muffled and sound weird. Personally, most of the time that I speak without a mask people don’t hear me anyways. So, the whole mask muffle thing has not affected me that much. If anything it has taught and encouraged me to speak louder and sound more presentable. I don’t find masks to be uncomfortable. They used to be when masks first started being mandatory but now, I think I have just accepted it as part of my life and learned to adjust to it. I understand how people can find them annoying or uncomfortable, but you know what is also annoying and uncomfortable?

Death.

— Zepa C.

As of right now, our school requires masks, and I don’t think that is a bad thing. For mild discomfort it’s keeping everyone safer than they would be otherwise. I feel that they make us safer and they aren’t that uncomfortable. It doesn’t affect my communication much but I know that it makes it a lot harder for other people. I think that we should be taking into account that case rates are going down in states that have already done away with masks, which means that masks aren’t entirely effective. I think that everywhere except for restaurants should have the same mask rules as schools.

— Gunnar C.

I think we should keep masks because they help both you and the people around you and for the government to say that we won’t need them anymore says something because the life we lived before masks was disgusting and bad and honestly embarrassing on how we used to live  and that’s my opinion on the mask rule.

— Luis Z.

I think mask mandates should be lifted after Covid is over. I think this because if we stop wearing masks now then a lot of people could start getting sick, and Covid could become a way bigger problem then it already is. If people continue to wear masks then it is helping Covid die down because less people would be getting sick and most of all you would be protecting yourself.

— Lilu E.

I don’t think the mask mandate should be lifted because it’s not safe for anyone and a new strain of Covid is happening as well as the first strain. Masks are not only helping us stay safe in some way but I think they look cool. You can have different designs on them to add to your outfit and it’s just even more better. Masks should be mandatory even if you’re vaccinated because some people still get Covid after the vaccine, especially since the new strain is out.

— Mac M.