Why Going Mask Optional is the Right Thing to do

Celina Savage weighs in on Mount Greylock’s decision to go mask optional.

The Mount Greylock mask mandate is being lifted on Monday, March 14th. Since the pandemic is close to coming full circle, almost exactly two years after it began affecting our Berkshire community on the infamous March 13th, I thought that it would be an appropriate time to share my two cents on the changing mask policy. 

Being mask optional will certainly change our interactions socially, but what I am hoping for is a large improvement in our collective mental well-being as students.

When I put on my mask to go to school, a place where people’s mental health tends to worsen regardless of COVID-19, the feeling of my continuous breath hitting my face increases my anxiety and mental health immensely. I am incredibly pro-mask in terms of safety and I understand and feel the anxieties of this optional change, but at the end of the day, there is scientifically not much more to do for this pandemic (if you are vaccinated. If not…get one!). I think that, in the scheme of things, we just have to find a way to live with this reality as a community. It will be a shift, undoubtedly an anxiety provoking one, especially for those that are immunocompromised, but being mask optional is, at the end of the day, a positive advancement for our community. 

This previous weekend, I went to a very large volleyball tournament in Boston and the last two days were mask optional. It was an adjustment, but I quickly remembered how that is the normal. Despite getting used to masks, masks are not our baseline.

It was really incredible to have the ability to express myself fully and easily (facial expression wise). I am excited to see everyones full faces next Monday (if they choose to remove their masks).