Is Life Going Back to Normal Now that the Mask Mandate is Lifted?

Kiley Aschenbach, Staff Writer

On March 7th, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy lifted the mask mandate in schools across New Jersey. Wearing masks became optional, depending on the personal comfort of students and administrators. Most students find it bizarre to imagine: after almost two whole years, we would see the faces of our peers while sitting in class or walking through the hallways. Although the mask mandate was supposed to be lifted several months ago, the New Jersey government has finally deemed it safe. 

 Lifting the mask mandate sparked many mixed feelings in Wayne Valley students. Some students were ecstatic over going maskless, while others had concerns. In support of lifting the mandate, sophomore Izzy Mahida says, “I’m so excited and happy about this. It’s going to be nice to get a sense of normalcy.” Mahida, among other students, is not wearing her mask now that it is not required. Another student exclaimed, “It’s about time it gets lifted!” Many students feel as though they will be able to breathe again—literally.

That said, although the mandate was lifted, the Wayne Valley halls will not be completely maskless. Several students have made the decision to keep wearing their masks for a variety of personal reasons. Sophomore Alisha Raja, for instance, has continued to wear her mask. Raja states, “COVID is not gone. It is still here and it is still in the school.” Raja, like some others, is nervous to see if there is going to be a spike in cases after the masks come off. “There is a strong probability that we can go right back to where we were two years ago,” says Raja. 

Despite the varying opinions here at Wayne Valley, it is an exciting time for students and staff to finally take a big step towards pre-pandemic normalcy. Assistant Principal Mr. Martinez is simply happy that “people have a choice to take [the mask] off or keep it on.” After two extremely long years, Wayne can take a breath of fresh air.