By Darsh Mirchandani, Asmita Saha and Helee Shukla
Since July, the COVID-19 crisis has been gradually abating with the help of COVID-19 vaccines. However, a possible winter surge can quickly change these statistics. While scientific models predict a rise in cases starting next month, many COVID-19 recommendations, such as social distancing guidelines and quarantine requirements, have been reduced.
“I think COVID-19 is starting to appear less deadly due to meager mention on the news and lower chance of getting infected as a result of the vaccine,” junior Brandon Dampman said.
65% of Americans believe that there is little or no risk when it comes to returning to normal life, and with the beginning of the new school year, many students have stopped wearing masks. While the majority of New Hyde Park does not wear masks, there remain a handful of students who do for the safety of their loved ones and themselves.
Source by Ann Aphraim
Some students and staff continue to wear their masks for personal reasons.
“I [still] wear a mask today to stay safe and prevent myself from getting sick,” senior Alvin Reji said.
“I noticed that while people around me were getting sick for the past few weeks from a cold or flu, I stayed perfectly healthy. Sure, COVID was the reason I started wearing a mask, but still wearing that mask even after the rate has gone down has probably saved me from catching that annoying cold.”
“I still wear my mask because I have a lot of health issues at home. My dad got a pretty big surgery last February and my mom got one a couple of weeks ago. I want to make sure that I keep my family safe,” senior Anneliese Park said.
Students who wear masks have also reported feeling judged by their peers.
“When I walk through the hallways with my mask on, I feel like people stare at me and silently judge me. I notice that I am one of the few people left wearing masks and that makes me feel excluded,” freshman Kitty Guan said.
“I do have to say it is weird wearing my mask when there are very few people who still do. I do feel like there are people who judge me for wearing it or think of me differently but that doesn’t really affect my decision. I'm wearing my mask for the safety of myself and my family and that’s all that matters to me,” Park said.
Those that do not wear a mask share their reasoning on why they feel comfortable doing so.
“After the summer, the world felt like it went back to normal. Seeing my other friends and family not using masks anymore definitely influenced my decision,” seventh-grader Dhruv Jani said.
“I am double vaccinated with a booster and I feel the chances of getting COVID are getting less now,” senior Max Zembera said.
As NHP progresses through the pandemic, students will continue to differ in their choice of whether they should wear a mask or not. These choices will continue to be influenced by the individual students’ circumstances and perspectives.