Thoughts on the Mercyhurst mask mandate

Bella Lee, Staff Writer

COVID has been in our lives for over a year and a half now. Vaccines have been given for nearly a year now, social distancing measures have come and gone, and there’s still an ongoing battle on whether masks are good or not. Through all of this, there has been almost as many waves of COVID in the country as there are waves in a wave pool!Now, we are over halfway through 2021, and we are getting hit with nearly as many variants as was shown in Loki. The Delta variant is ravaging the country, and there is also word of a Lambda variant and a Mu variant internationally, which could easily make their way to us. As a result, many cities and schools across the country, including Mercyhurst, are bringing back masks to mitigate the spread. However, most people are vaccinated at this point, and feel like this isn’t necessary, which leaves the burning question: was it smart to bring masks back? I believe so.

As of now, members of the Mercyhurst community only have to wear masks indoors and in outdoor spaces that are crowded. Fortunately, this is the only restriction that’s in place; social distancing measures have been lifted and in-person classes are at full capacity. I’ve been fully vaccinated for about 8 months now, but I still wear the mask where I need to because you can never be too careful. As we are well aware, these variants have been creating breakthrough cases, where fully vaccinated people manage to get sick with COVID. While these cases are rare, they still exist, and cases like these are quickly on the rise. If we want these cases to decline and even go away, we must take all precautions and be vigilant.

With most people on campus being vaccinated by now, I am glad that we can take masks off outside, but I do miss not having to wear them at all. I was on campus over the summer working for the CREATE program, and we didn’t have to wear masks at all unless we weren’t fully vaccinated or felt sick. After a full academic year of having to wear a mask everywhere and social distance in every situation, it was refreshing to be in a place where everything felt normal again. However, this was also around the time that the Delta variant really began to rise in the country. I was definitely disappointed when I first read the email that announced that masks were back, but I was also relieved that it was the only restriction for the year. I’m also aware that the school is just doing its part to protect us from getting sick. While I’m sure that most of us are sick of wearing masks, the best thing we can all do is comply and wear them so that we can work together to eradicate COVID for good.