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Students React to the end of the mask mandate

By Gabriella Cavaleri, Staff Writer

Countries are putting an end to their COVID-19 restrictions despite coronavirus cases reaching record numbers in many of these countries. Students question what’s in store for the future as Chief Operating Officer Joseph Schaefer announced that LIU would no longer require a mask mandate in accordance with CDC recommendations and Gov. Hochul lifting mask requirements for schools in New York as of March 2. 

Sophomore pre-veterinary and veterinary technology major Kaitlyn Cucolo has concerns about the lifting of coronavirus restrictions. Cucolo, like many, was personally affected by COVID-19.

“Back in December, around finals time, I actually tested positive for COVID. At first, I was in shock because I always wear a mask and social distance so I was confused,” Cucolo said.

Cucolo had mild symptoms, but she feared spreading COVID-19 to her mother who has a weakened immune system. 

“COVID is not eradicated yet and it’s still out there,” Cucolo said. “I agree that with the proper vaccines being given, people can have a little leeway. But still, keep in mind that not everything is back to normal yet.”

Despite an abundance of caution from many, the virus continues to spread and mutate. No matter what part of the world is being affected by COVID-19, there is always a possibility the virus will find its way back to America. Cucolo is not hopeful for the future. 

“There’s probably going to be another strand. No matter how many people get their vaccines, there’s still people who are against getting vaccinated,” Cucolo said.

Cucolo believes this lack of vaccinations will cause another outbreak of the virus and she fears going into isolation again. 

Junior art therapy major Olivia Greiss understands the risks of COVID-19, but is also ready for the world to return to a state of normalcy. She has occasional COVID-19 safety concerns, but for the most part she is able to go about her day without fear. She believes there should be a balance between safety and security. 

“People should be able to be cautious and still have freedom. No one should be locked in their country,” Greiss said.

Greiss notes that mandates keep changing which just adds to uncertainty and confusion. Moreso, it’s hard for her to grasp the full extent of COVID-19 in Europe since she isn’t there. 

“It’s hard to see what’s in store for the future, especially since mandates are continually changing,” Greiss said.

Sophomore biology major Maja Toth is from Budapest Hungary and has experienced COVID-19 hardships firsthand. During the height of COVID-19, she was a senior in high school who was studying abroad.

“I didn’t get to go home for the summer because I was scared they wouldn’t let me back in the country for college. I had a bunch of friends who had trouble getting into [America] and I didnt want to risk it,” Toth said.

Because of this, Toth did not get to see her family for almost 2 years.

“Travel restrictions are still very specific in some countries and constantly changing, making international travel frustrating and difficult,” Toth said.

This past summer Hungary lifted COVID-19 restrictions despite covid cases rising. Tourism improved but that decision put the safety of many at risk. 

“I think the government ignoring the health and safety of the people for the benefit of the economy is definitely a concern. My brother’s school has shut down multiple times because of high Covid cases since wearing masks are not mandatory in primary and high schools. The last few months the number of cases have been pretty high, but people keep getting vaccinated and getting boosters, so as of right now the situation is slowly getting better,” Toth said.

Toth believes both masks and travel restrictions will keep going back and forth in countries as COVID-19 numbers continue to change. 

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