Mask mandate appropriately lifted due to low infection rates

Noah Leventhal

For the past two years, the pandemic has forced people have been more affected than others – but everyone has worn masks. As the number of COVID-19 infections dropped sharply, some mask mandates have started to be lifted. The CDC relaxed their restrictions, Hennepin County lowered theirs and at Park’s school board meeting March 8 they voted against a mask mandate.

Concerns have arisen about the legitimacy and safety of these mandates. Many have asked “Why can we suddenly stop wearing masks now?” or, “is it really safe to not wear masks anymore?” In reality, now that COVID-19 cases have dropped, it’s relatively fine to not constantly be wearing masks anymore.

COVID-19 cases in mid-January of this year were at an all-time high at just over 1 million in the U.S. per day. Now, there’s just about 7,000, and rapidly dropping each day. With this in mind, it makes sense that we can start lifting our restrictions.

In Minnesota, just about 70% of the population is fully vaccinated. The vaccine prevents hospitalization from COVID-19, and the spreading of it as well. This again supports the argument against masks, implying most people are already vaccinated, lowering the need for masks.

At Park, the community and social aspects are a big part of the school. Having face-to-face conversations and activities is very important for friendships and gatherings. Masks have bolstered the social aspects of school and made it harder to communicate well and have meaningful conversations.

The School Board is in the right here by removing the mandate. COVID-19 cases are going down, the CDC lifted their restrictions and most people are vaccinated. So, it only makes sense for the school to change the mandate to make mask use optional.