How do Enochs students feel about the removal of the school mask mandate?

Signs+inform+visitors+that+masks+are+required+inside+the+Ferry+Building+in+San+Francisco%2C+California%2C+U.S.%2C+on+Monday%2C+July+19%2C+2021+%28CNN%29.

David Paul Morris

“Signs inform visitors that masks are required inside the Ferry Building in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, July 19, 2021” (CNN).

Omar Al Agil, Reporter

After an entire, arduous year of concealing our faces at school (and two years concealing them everywhere else), many California families and government officials have simply become tired, knowing that the end is in sight. 

However, other families believe that the apparent rush to return to normalcy is an ill-fated one – one that could, perhaps, come at the expense of undoing the two years of progress our society has made in keeping cases low.

While it is not likely that either of these could happen (at least, not very fast), the debate has become a point of contention for both sides, following the permanent removal of the public school mask mandate in early March. 

As stated before, many families are eager to return to pre-pandemic life, and have resented the mandate since its infancy. This feeling is reflected by many families of students on the Enochs campus, as in the wake of the decision of California’s health officials, many walk without facial coverings. 

A student, upon being asked about their decision to discard the mask, explains that they (and their family) believed it was negatively impacting their academic performance and social life.

“I felt like no one noticed me when I had to cover my face,” they replied. “It was hard having to raise my voice in class because the mask would make me quieter, and not seeing my teachers’ faces somehow kept me from learning as much.”

Juxtaposing this, other students who come from families that have grown to accept the ‘new normal’ continue to wear facial coverings for extra safety. For many, it is more of a subconscious need than a premeditated decision. One masked student, in response to a question about his parents’ influence on his decision to continue covering his face, explains their concern for his safety.

“I think it’s more of a habit than a need,” he answered. “Since we’ve been so paranoid about getting infected for so long, it’s pretty hard for us to return to ‘normal,’ even if there aren’t any restrictions stopping us. It’s a part of my life now, I don’t really mind it.”

Whether or not students choose to remain covered, this debate could spell ominous news for the unvaccinated. However, the mandate has only been out of effect for one week as of this point, and there is no way to tell if cases will be greatly affected by the recent changes. Facial coverings are now optional, so those who choose to continue wearing them are still being recognized. For now, this is a victory for most students on campus.