Should Kansas lift the mask mandate?

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Eris Rindt, Reporter

As COVID-19 vaccinations become more common, people are starting to question the idea of wearing a mask. On Mar. 15, Sedgwick County lifted their crowd restrictions but continues to encourage mask wearing and social distancing according to KWCH. The mandate has been active since July and was put in place by Kansas Governor, Laura Kelly. In Kansas, it is required for citizens over 5 to wear a mask when in indoor public places or when outside and unable to socially distance. 

Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Arizona and West Virginia are some of the first states to loosen their COVID-19 restrictions according to NBC News. Kansas recently surpassed 300,000 COVID-19 cases and is quickly approaching 5,000 deaths.

Think about it, the mask mandate is set there for a reason,” senior Colyn Burke said. “The reason for [the mask mandate] is to stop the spread of COVID to the best of our abilities. If we stop the mask mandate the students who go out a lot might decide to not wear their mask when [they go out and] they might get COVID and come to school the next day without knowing it and they’ll just spread it.”

As of Mar. 17, 854,997 Kansans have received the COVID-19 vaccine, which is approximately 19.5% of the Kansas population according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Approximately 62% of students at NHS said that Kansas should not lift the current mandate, while 38% said that the mandate should be lifted. 

“[Kansas should lift their mandate] because the masks are not really doing anything. The masks that people are wearing are not helping [stop the spread because] they all have holes in them. The only one that [truly helps] is a N95 and that’s only if the mask fits you correctly,” junior Mackenzie Cusick said. “I think it’s a good idea to lift the mask mandate because we are all going to have [COVID] at some point.”

COVID-19 was officially named a pandemic over a year ago in February 2020. In the U.S. there are currently 29,319,457 cases and approximately 111 million vaccines administered according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Approximately 10% of Americans have been fully vaccinated according to NBC News. Although, there is still a possibility that vaccinated people can contract and spread COVID-19 according to the CDC. 

“For our state, I think [the mask mandate] should end when at least 60-75% of the population gets the vaccine,” Burke said. “To be completely honest I don’t care if I get COVID, what I care about is not spreading it around.”

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