What’s the Deal With Masks?


Selah Bamgbose

GC students of various ages, some of whom choose to wear masks and some who choose not to, are all happy! Left to right: Sydney Carpenter, Zoe Jerva, Michael Nicholas, Sophia Bordernick, Isabela Campanario, Viangelo Cedeno, Clara Harney, Sophia Alves, Cameron Conrad, Laurencia Aparin

Much has changed since GC’s full return to in-person school in August of 2021. The return of sports, theater, and in-person classes has been a relief for all. Since the lifting of the mask mandate this past February, things seem to have returned to almost normal. For the first time in three years, people’s faces are visible, classes are no longer limited to a zoom screen, and lunch tables are no longer reduced to a small circle of desks. The return has been slow but steady and much needed.

 The lifted mandate has received mixed reactions. Some students think that it is too soon and that cases will only increase. “I don’t think it’s a great idea,” says junior Viangelo Cedeno, who still opts to wear his mask. “If we stop wearing masks and they stop testing people, [covid] will just spread faster.” 

While many students seem to share the same sentiment, others disagree. “I took my mask off the day they lifted [the mandate], and I still haven’t gotten Covid,” said Taylor Lawrence. 

Cases seemed to plateau in the weeks immediately following the lift but spiked in March following junior retreats and the music trip. Weekly mandatory testing of unvaccinated students also paused, though random groups of students are selected each week and required to test. 

However, besides the brief spikes following school trips, the no-mask operation appears to be a success. Students can return to a normal school experience and are given a choice of whether or not to wear a mask and access free weekly testing whenever they need it. It seems to be a win for all. 

On a larger scale, the mask mandate in Montgomery County seemed to have similar results. Cases initially dropped almost 30 percent immediately after the county lifted it and maintained a steady trend in the following weeks. 

The past few years have been challenging for many students, and lifting the mask mandate seems to be a step forward in the right direction. Though COVID-19 may be here to stay for a while, normalcy seems to be on the horizon.