Since the March 14 mask mandate lift, students can now decide whether or not to keep their mask on. But even as the pandemic finally slows down, many will still remain masked. This is because wearing a mask is not only a virus precaution but also a social precaution. It was socially unacceptable to not wear a mask in California for so long that now, being mask-less leads to social exile. Coupled with the fluctuation of COVID in the past years, it is no wonder some may feel masks are still necessary. But, this does not have to be the case anymore; students should not have to continue wearing a mask just because others are doing so.
The mandate may be down, but the masks are still up. One reason an unmasked person might be outcasted is because they are endangering the safety of others. However, infection rates are steadily declining and people are becoming more aware of how to fight off the virus. Masking decisions should be left up to the individual and not the collective. Still, societal norms have influenced people’s decisions to wear a mask. Some people were pressured into masking. Many still feel it is too early, despite the decline in hospitalizations, but this is not the case. Although masking is still highly recommended, the pandemic has reached a point where the state has found it acceptable for the masses to unmask, and people should not have the fear to do so.
Even still, some people say that they do not want to wear it forever, but still want to wear it for now. That leaves a great distance between time though, that means they could stop masking tomorrow or a year from now. Really people should not base their decisions off of others, instead they should consider their own wishes when they are making such an important public safety decision. Although people love to engage in confrontations over whether the public should be obligated to wear a mask, it is important to keep civil discourse when discussing such an important matter. Whether or not someone wears a mask, it is their decision to make. Unfortunately, it is hard for people to adjust to others’ opinions. There must be an open-minded mentality since the mask mandate has been lifted.
Students should not feel outcasted for not wearing a mask, as there are many fair reasons as to why they should not have to. COVID, for one, is on the decline because people are now vaccinated against the virus and are more cautious of contracting it. Some people find masks difficult to communicate with others with half of the face being covered; it leaves emotions hidden and words muffled. Some are even sentimental and would like to go back to a time where wearing a mask was not necessary to interacting with others. Regardless, people who do not wear masks should not be seen as a threat or something to avoid. Just see them as people and continue on with your day.