Complexities in Timing: Lifting the Mask Mandate in Schools

As the mask mandate for the Orange Unified School District comes to a close, staff and students may begin to feel hesitant or absolutely relieved. The hesitance or excitement is valid and should not be invalidated; however, after almost two years of wearing masks and two doses of the pfizer vaccine, I do not feel hesitant, and the mandate being lifted now is timely. 

   Lifting the mask mandate in schools was timely because the Omicron surge has calmed, the flu season has passed, and COVID-19 cases as a whole have declined in Orange County.

  Reported in December 2021 from US News, “Omicron has quickly become the most common form of the coronavirus in the U.S., accounting for 73% of all cases, federal officials said in the latest nationwide estimate Monday [December 20,2021].” 

   While The New York Times updated March 17, 2022, “Every state is in far better shape than it was at the height of Omicron, and almost every state continues to see significant declines in daily case reports and hospitalizations.”

   While Omicron still exists, it’s reduced to livable proportions, and the flu season has less of a critical factor in controlling the daily lives of citizens. If mask mandates were lifted during an infectious flu season and not regulated within schools, our choice to have masks optional now would have most likely been pushed back. 

   Orange County Covid cases are thankfully quite low. I find that masks are not enjoyable to wear, and I’m glad I can choose what I find is most comfortable for myself while feeling safe, and the enjoyable liberty of choice couldn’t have been obtained without citizens’ patience towards masks. But now,  we can choose to enjoy life without them. 


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