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  • Writer's pictureElena Caldera

Optional Mask Policy: Let's go back to normal!

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

Ever since school started on August 8, everyone’s waited for the 26th of the same month because from then on, using a mask would become optional. After the pandemic, students and teachers became accustomed to wearing masks, but though wearing them was habitual, we were never comfortable. The hot dry summers made us miss the old days where your face would be deliciously free from a polyester-like fabric attached to half your face. Now that a month and a few weeks have passed, what are the reactions and what is the significance of terminating obligatory use of face masks?

Last year I was scared of the idea of removing face masks, it was a concept that I couldn't fully grasp. Yet 2022 made me crave the removed reality we once lived where I could see everyone’s gestures and share physical contact without being reprimanded for breaking a health code. When the school shared that it is optional to bring masks, I counted the days until we could return to normality. I am not the only one to express cheerfulness as many classmates and teachers shared mostly positive responses and eagerness to the start of the new school year without masks! The majority of people went to school free of masks, very little continued to use them. Next week, even fewer people were using masks. As time progressed, almost the entirety of the school was not using face masks and it has remained that way.

Like the amount of people using face masks is decreasing, so is the amount of Covid cases in Nicaragua. It's hard to believe I was in sixth grade when the pandemic started, and now I'm a ninth grader. It was as if our life was paused, put on hold. The plans that got canceled, the stress from possibly contracting the virus, and the adventures we missed were stolen from us for the past two years. Pandemic did bring out the best and worst of us. Lockdown showed us how crucial human interaction is. The post-covid era is entering, simple changes like removing the use of face masks in school are so monumental for teens that have had to endure the depressing effects of surviving a pandemic. It offers a glimpse of hope, a glance at a future that may, and hopefully so, not include social distancing and a deteriorating mental health. Everyone in the community of our school should take advantage of this year to reclaim what was missed and potentially even lost during those hard two years. Covid 19 has taught me a lesson to appreciate life and people in it. Let's make this school year a memorable one!

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