Recently, the Maharashtra government lifted all the COVID-19 curbs, amid the wiping of restrictions, masks have also become a voluntary norm. In light of this, since it is not mandatory to wear face masks, Mumbaikars cannot be penalized for not wearing masks.
With this ease in restrictions, life has slowly resumed to pre-COVID levels. The impact of lifting these curbs not only impacts the economy but also has far-reaching ramifications on two pillars of society.
These namely include health and education. On one hand, for the past two years, the focus was on coronavirus, causing other health issues to be put on the back burner. Similarly, students were confined to the four walls of their homes to attain education.
Mumbai Live explores these facets and throws light upon the ramifications of the same. While interacting with Dr Kavita Nagpal, Principal, Orchids The International School, Masjid Bunder, Mumbai the dropping of the mask mandate was further explored.
On being asked if making masks voluntary puts students at risk because they are not aware of social distancing norms, Nagpal remarks that while it is a thorny topic, practically maintaining social distancing becomes a challenge.
She says, “Our children are now habitual to wearing masks, so it would be better to take precautions and keep the system going. Parents too will be relieved of any tension as they send the children to school.”
Nagpal adds, “Wearing masks as a part of our school policies is a safer measure. Though it’s situational too. A child participating in field events or sports will find it difficult to play with masks. However, since the number of children will be lesser and distance can be maintained, wearing masks won’t be mandatory there. Nonetheless, we need to be watchful there as well.”
Presently, the school is operating full-scale offline classes, however, if a parent shares their concern, the school can make an exception. Nagpal utters, “The shift from online to offline has been quite challenging for us more than children. We have to manage their mental health as well as to channelize their energies. But I’m happy to see children adapting quickly to the change.”
Similarly, going forward, the school looks to enforce the guidelines set by the government and the local health authorities.
On the health front, Dr Chetan Ishwarlal Velani an Internal Medicine Specialist from Zynova Shalby Hospital, Ghatkopar is of the opinion that the “war is not over yet”. Considering the distressing news from abroad, Velani recommends that those facing comorbidities such as Diabetes and Blood pressure amongst others wear a mask.
The way ahead, amid the lifting of curbs that people should adhere to ensure they don’t get infected with the novel virus are masks. Velani elucidates, “Mask is our protective method and is part of life now. Masks are must for senior citizens, pregnant women and those suffering from health issues”.
The path ahead is unchartered, thus, society must tread with caution.