A Mostly Maskless Spring

With the COVID-19 pandemic calming down and cases on the decline, President Leahy announced that he would be lifting the masking policy on Monmouth’s campus. Masks are now only required in classrooms.

I am glad that the masking policy has been lifted. I understand that they’re for our own safety and I would gladly wear them again if COVID cases increase again, but it was definitely annoying to constantly be wearing one. Wearing it all day felt uncomfortable, especially if you had a three-hour class. Depending on the quality and thickness of the mask, it can be hard to speak loudly and clearly. This often made it difficult to hear my professors when they were lecturing or even talk with my peers. Overall, it was often unpleasant.

I am also glad that I do not have to wear a mask in the gym anymore. As someone who frequents the Monmouth University gym, it is a little bit disgusting to be working out and having something that collects your sweat and holds it against your face.

It is also nice to see my friends walking around campus without masks. It finally feels somewhat normal after dealing with masks for the past two and a half years. It is nice to not have to worry about making sure you have a mask on you 24/7. If you ever forgot one while the mandate was in place, it was a huge hassle. While it is a minor inconvenience that students still have to wear them in class, it is ultimately for the safety of the students and faculty.

The faculty and staff at Monmouth University have lives beyond the classroom, dining hall, and food court. Many of them have families they wish to protect and don’t want to bring COVID home to them. I believe students often forget that even though we might only see our professors and other Monmouth faculty on campus, they have a life and family outside of school just like the rest of us.

I am confident that masks will be lifted entirely by the fall semester of 2022 or perhaps the spring of 2023, but that is just my speculation. As long as there are no new variants that cause a massive spike in cases, I believe that Monmouth University will eventually return to normalcy.

The way that President Leahy handled the situation was a good balance that met the campus community’s needs. Students are getting tired of wearing masks, but there are still some who are cautious about COVID. Only requiring masks in the classroom is somewhat of a compromise that meets in the middle.

I would like to remind students that President Leahy did not have to lift the mask mandate. He could have kept it in place for as long as he wanted to – lifting the mandate was not required for New Jersey schools, it was merely an option if school officials felt that it was appropriate.

I encourage students to try to be patient as we are hopefully nearing the end of this pandemic; everyone has come a long way and hopefully, if given enough time, COVID should be behind us soon. Either that, or people will come to live with it as we do the common cold or flu.

I hope that the Monmouth University community remains respectful of those who continue to wear masks and do not make fun of others for doing so. It is an individual choice to protect your body – simply respect it and be a mature adult, even if you don’t agree with their choice. There is no reason for people to be bullied or name-called for wearing a mask. At the end of the day, it is their choice.