Opinion

Hillsborough County Lifts Mask Mandate in Public Schools

By Kayla Lupedee

kayla.lupedee@spartans.ut.edu

Why are people so stuck on getting rid of masks? Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, masks stood more as an inconvenience to most people rather than a safety net. For the last year that we started wearing masks, there has been an uproar to get rid of them. 

Hillsborough County officially gave in. The mask mandate on public schools was lifted. 

At first glance, it seems like something to celebrate. People no longer have to feel constricted by a piece of cloth across their face all day. But, then again, it literally is just a piece of cloth. A piece of cloth that is proven to keep others safe. 

It seems kind of ridiculous to put so much hate towards something as miniscule as a piece of cloth. It’s actually weird how badly anti-maskers want to lift the mask mandate, especially because masks are not doing any harm. 

I suspect that the lift of the mask mandate in public schools is going to leave a lot of parents more fearful of the safety of their children. As more people are getting vaccinations, it seems as though the fear of COVID-19 is dissipating, but we can’t act like it is completely gone.

Each day, there are still reports of new cases, whether someone is vaccinated or not. The use of masks is just an easy way to keep everyone safe in the ongoing pandemic, and lifting that mandate from public schools is quite possibly one of the dumbest things that could have happened. 

Of course, people still have the personal option to wear a mask if they want to. For that, I hope most people are sane enough and smart enough to continue wearing masks in school or to make their young children wear masks to school.

With all there is to do in Tampa, more and more people are mingling with each other every day. It feels good to start heading back into normal life, but we have to remember, the more we mingle, the more likely we are to come in contact with COVID-19.

So, why not just be safe rather than sorry? As someone who is in school, I can’t even imagine going back to not wearing a mask in the classroom. Often, the rooms we are learning in are too small to even offer decent air flow. Removing my mask in that space, or lack thereof, just seems crazy to me. 

I’m not sure if I have just gotten used to the rule of wearing masks, or if I truly am too cautious to take it off in the classroom, but either way, it is not harming anyone to wear them. It feels quite normal, actually, to be wearing a mask in the classroom. 

Sometimes, I notice other people on campus not wearing a mask when indoors. Although it feels refreshing to peel it off your face after wearing it for hours, it really is not that hard to keep it on when inside a smaller space. 

The lift of the mask mandate may be earning a lot of cheers from people for now, but only time will tell how long those cheers last when our COVID-19 cases start spiking again. 

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