Covid-19: An On-Going Struggle

Covid-19: An On-Going Struggle

The Covid-19 pandemic has been going on for so long that the idea of “back to normal” that everyone has been striving for since March of 2020 has actually started to become abnormal. To put this into perspective, when the pandemic began, I was 13 years old and in seventh grade. Currently, I am 15 and in the middle of my freshman year here at Friends Academy. At this point, people are starting to get sick of Covid precautions. Masks are constantly being worn incorrectly, and hospital rates are going through the roof.

Recently, a state supreme court judge ruled the mask mandate in schools unconstitutional. This caused numerous public school districts in Nassau County to make their indoor mask wearing policy optional – at least for one day. Not only did this decision cause massive confusion among students and their families of public schools, as they did not know how to react to this sudden change of the rules, but also among those in the Friends Academy community. The morning after the decision was made, Friends Academy had still not changed any of their mask wearing policies. However, students across campus became disobedient to wearing their masks correctly. It has been a constant struggle for faculty and staff to remind students to wear their masks correctly on a normal day at school. After the requirement of a mask mandate by law had come into question, students arrived rebellious.

As I joined my morning meeting in advisory, I walked into a quarrel between my advisers and classmates on the necessity of mask wearing in the FA community. While both of my advisors were trying to calm the situation down and prove that, regardless of opinion, nothing had changed at our school, both questionable opinions and uneducated comments were being thrown around left and right.

I asked one of my classmates about their opinion on masks in schools. He/she said, “masks are negatively affecting the quality of our education and interactions with our peers.” This was also the opinion present of the majority of my advisory that day. However, I was one of few to disagree. Students’ quality of education is not being affected by mask wearing. Wearing a mask on one’s face does not put any boundary on our ability to learn, especially considering the majority of people have gotten used to wearing masks at this point. Personally, I do not even realize it is still there most of the time, so I learn just as I would without it. As it occurs to most people today, I am often surprised by how people look the first time I see them without a mask on. Yet, I find this to be the only difference masks make in a social interaction.

Over 7,000 people are currently hospitalized from Covid. If wearing a mask everyday in school can not only decrease this number, but also bring society closer to getting through the pandemic, then the occasional discomfort a mask may cause on someone’s face or to their breathing is not enough to convince me not to wear them. Masks save lives. Even if one does not have an underlying health factor, wearing a mask will decrease chances of getting Covid by an extreme amount. Asymptomatic or not, having to quarantine and miss various days of school is a process no student would want to go through.

In spite of my strong opinion on mask wearing, I am also guilty of wearing my mask incorrectly, or at times not at all. When playing sports for Friends, it becomes extremely difficult to keep on correctly, as I am very out of breath most of the time. Eating lunch at school is also a point of concern, as it is not only off for the time I am eating, but the entire lunch period.

These are all struggles that students endure everyday during these trying times. It has been around one and a half years, and wearing masks correctly and consistently continues to be a struggle. However, discipline needs to be enforced among students fed up with mask wearing, and among those who do not believe in masks altogether. Hence, I ask students: Is it more important to stop the spread of Covid-19 by wearing masks, as there still are people who resist getting vaccinated, or is it more important to feel just a bit more comfortable, while thousands of people continue to suffer hospitalized every day?