After almost two years of being required to wear a mask to school, students, and staff, starting on March 2nd, 2022 had the option not to do so. This decision by New York State came after evidence of a downward trend in new Covid cases indicating that the Omnicron surge is over. In Governor Hochal’s speech on February 27th, she said that “70% of the population right now lives in an area that’s considered low to medium risk” and that “that in low to medium their (experts) recommendation is that there no longer a requirement that makes be worn indoors and that includes schools…”. Individual counties and districts have the option to overturn this but in our case, Suffolk County has made no such move.
This policy change has also led to some changes in Newfield. For contact tracing purposes, teachers have to list who is wearing masks while taking attendance. This was specially featured on an ABC-7 Eyewitness News segment, as Middle Country appears to be the only school district doing this particular tracking. When asking a student who still wears a mask why they chose to do so, they replied “Because COVID’s still here. You can get the flu shot but you can still get the flu” Another student hilariously replied, “I wear a mask to hide my double chin”. A student who doesn’t wear their mask anymore said they came to this decision based on a general consensus, “I asked so many people and the majority of them said they wouldn't wear one so I didn't wear one.” Another comments, “I was like, I have COVID antibodies so I’m chilling with the covid antibodies” Overall, the student body seems to be taking things on a day to day basis.