Going into the weekend of the Backfield Blast, the school year seemed as if it were back in full swing. Homecoming information was sent out over email blast, as the Hoco playlist was released and made its way throughout the school. Then, on Friday, August 27th, at 2:40 PM, a new Wayne County Mask Mandate was announced, and U of D masked up for a second time. This blindsided many, but students saw it coming. However, with COVID-19 cases on the rise, was this the best choice? Prior to the mandate, many students were already opting for masks in the more congested areas throughout the school, such as in the hallways, the lunch line, and during the recent all-school Mass of the Holy Spirit. The key aspect of wearing a mask this year was that students were given a choice: wear one or don’t. That choice has become a demand, and both staff and students alike are understandably irritated.
For many, this is the first time they have been in the building since March of 2020, when the pandemic first hit. James Raise, ’22, had this to say regarding the pace of this new way of life: “The school year started off slow because it has been a big adjustment from last year, but I’m sure it will get better.” It looks like some students are hopeful and ready to go back to the way things were prior to the outbreak, while others have different thoughts on the matter. “I feel like we’re going backwards,” remarks Ryan Hammett, ‘22. It’s clear that people are adjusting to the school year at different speeds; while some are ready to jump right back in, others are looking to go slow, especially after the year many have had. Many teachers also recognize this change of pace and have slowly begun to ease their way back into the old classroom atmosphere that the students remember so well.
The discussion surrounding the mask mandate has been a hot debate for a while now. Many students have expressed that they don’t mind wearing their masks, but they wish that more people would get vaccinated so that they didn’t have to. At this point, it seems that those who wish to get vaccinated have done so already, and the rest are just simply waiting for the right time. I hope that time comes sooner rather than later. It’s up to all of us to get the vaccine and encourage others to do so as well; that is the only way we can hope to continue on this path of a somewhat normal school year. It’s crazy to think that I’m entering my third year of high school with COVID still an imminent threat. But I remain hopeful, and I think that’s the key to getting through this. For those of you who have gotten the vaccine, well done. All we can do is wait.