Students Must Follow The Mask Mandate

Graphic/Kristyn Dentremont

Almost three years into the pandemic, everyone is sick and tired of canceled events, altered plans and mask wearing. When the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) altered its guidelines to remove masks for vaccinated individuals, a new freedom was adopted. However, when school reopened with masks, students were so used to their summer freedoms that they did not wear masks properly, even when cases began to rise. The mask mandate getting removed at the beginning of the school year brought students hope of a return to normal; however, now with more cases than ever recorded despite vaccinations, a removal of the mask mandate does not appear on the horizon. Therefore, students need to accept the reality and pull their masks up above their noses because masks protect not only themselves, but those around them. 

Students’ new favorite way to wear their mask seems to be with the nose hanging out. Masks without a metal bridge to close over the nose have proven to be less than 30% effective, so therefore it is even less when the nose is not covered at all. If students do not wear their masks properly, it is like not wearing them at all. According to a study followed by the CDC, masks are proven to be upwards of 70% effective. Therefore, in a school setting a full vaccination and mask gives a high percentage of protection, but that percentage diminishes for each minute after 15 that one does not wear their mask. Last year, the majority of students wore their masks correctly, so with more cases than ever before, students must resist pandemic fatigue and do the same now. 

In sports, many athletes do not wear masks correctly because it is hard to breathe and the mask gets wet. The MIAA considered not requiring masks when playing in a game for winter sports, but with cases rising, they decided against it. Athletes were angry, but they chose to play the sport so they must wear the uniform whether or not a mask is included. Athletes are arguably the most susceptible to spread with the close proximity within teams and games between different towns. 

Many students think they are invulnerable to contracting it, whether they are vaccinated or not, but right now especially, anybody can get it no matter vaccination status or past infections (except for within three months). While some students might not worry about contracting COVID-19, others around them may feel unsafe, especially if they have elderly or immuno-compromised family or friends and wearing a mask incorrectly puts them at risk.

There are no guarantees with COVID-19, except for that masks are reliable protection when worn correctly. Although students are sick and tired of wearing masks, at this point they should be used to it as part of their everyday outfit.