On March 12th, 2022, Pacific University plans to lift the mask mandate that has been in place since the state of Oregon issued one. For the last two years, masks have become a regular part of everyday life. Many students, myself included, are struggling with the idea of no longer being required to wear them. Many students are feeling indecisive about no longer wearing masks inside classrooms.
The majority of students seem to still be on the fence about continuing to wear masks, leaning towards keeping them on. One of the students’ concerns is that a new wave of COVID will happen once the masks are gone, leading to the masks being reinstated, which can be confusing for many.
COVID is not the only sickness students are concerned about. Masks have also helped students avoid the cold and flu for two years. If the masks come off, there is a chance everyone will become sick with these ailments rather than COVID, hindering the learning process.
Other students are excited to no longer be required to wear masks and are eager to no longer have to think about it every day. They are also less concerned about Covid at the moment.
I am still undecided on whether to continue wearing my mask. I think it doesn’t have to be one or the other, but instead, wearing a mask can be situational. For example, if it is a large concert or event, I would probably wear my mask. However, in small social gatherings, I will likely not. I will also wear one when I am not feeling well to avoid getting others sick. I feel a sense of anxiety and uncertainty that I think many others feel.
One of the most profound questions about lifting the mandate is: What does normal after COVID-19 look like? After becoming comfortable wearing masks and being treated as the norm, how do we go back to no masks? The adjustment process will likely be a long and difficult one. — Jazmine Henning