To wear or not to wear (masks), that is the question

Some of the signs around campus will need to be updated.

Josie Jaback

Some of the signs around campus will need to be updated.

Josie Jaback

On Feb. 28, Gov. Jay Inslee said that Washington state will not be required to wear masks indoors beginning Mar. 12. Masks will still be required in health care facilities and higher-risk settings, as the threat of Covid-19 is still present.

President Rob Modarelli specified that Bellarmine will be a ‘mask optional’ campus, where the students can choose if they wish to remain masked or not. With this comes differing feelings of exposure physically and to Covid-19 without the presence of masks to hide behind.

Junior Anna Wetzel shares her opinion on wearing masks. “I don’t plan on wearing my mask because I like the feeling of normalcy that I get without them. I know that it is safer now, and I want to take advantage of this opportunity to see my friends and peers fully again.”

Another junior, Sasha Owen, plans on not wearing her mask at school but rather, “I will wear a mask when I’m in large group settings or when the number of Covid cases begins to rise again.”

Sophomore Josie Hoare said, “For a majority of the time, I will no longer be wearing a mask because my whole family and I are vaccinated and none of us have health concerns, so I feel as though I am not putting anyone in my family at risk. However, if I notice that someone near me is coughing and sneezing more than normal, or I am near someone who has health concerns, I will try to slip on a mask if one is available. ”

Monday, Mar. 14, was the first day of no masks at school and many students chose to not wear masks. Wetzel, one of the students, said, “Not wearing a mask today for the first time was super weird at first and I felt exposed in a way. I know that it is safe for us all to take off the masks and return to an almost normal state, so I am not really worried about the threats.”

In response to the concerns of feeling judged when wearing a mask, Wetzel said, “I am aware that the school is still taking many precautions to keep us safe and I know that if I feel uncomfortable in any way, I can wear my mask without feeling judged.”

Owen said that she is more cautious than concerned, and that she plans on wearing her mask when she feels that she is exposed to an unsafe environment.

It is important to remain conscious that the pandemic is not entirely over and many families are vulnerable to Covid; however, this is a positive step towards normality in Washington and the Bellarmine community.

Some of the signs around campus will need to be updated. (Josie Jaback)