Though the American public’s fears of COVID are fading, even as the country approaches 1 million deaths in the pandemic, omicron cases are on the rise, which are causing some schools, particularly in the northeast, to bring back their masking requirements.
The return of masking in schools is not nearly as widespread now, but districts like Maine, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey have brought them back, while Massachusetts also recommends them even though their school year is coming to a close, because of the high levels of COVID-19 transmission.
According to AP News, one parent said “We’re very happy about it. It gives us a little peace of mind. I think the parents generally trend toward wearing them and that gives us some comfort. It’s the same case at our pre-school. There will be a couple of parents who don’t mask their child, but we will be masking our child.”
On the other hand, on the Facebook page of Woodland Hills High School in Pittsburgh, one parent called the masking change “#insane.”
In the U.S., reported daily cases are up 50% over the past two weeks, averaging 79,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. But earlier this year, cases were averaging 800,000, so the number sits at a fraction right now.
Some of the reasons for the downturn can be attributed to less testing and fewer people reporting less severe cases. The current number represents a vast undercount of the total number.
The recent flare-up in cases and the return of masking to a small number of schools have not had much impact on the nationwide response. The public is exhausted after two years of restrictions, which reflects their weariness about this issue.