I am not disabled. Every once in a while something happens — I need a new eyeglass prescription because I can’t see across the room, I break a toe and have to find a closer door or I am suffering from swimmer’s ear and can’t hear the bustle around me — but like millions of Americans, I am not limited by my body. I am able to be in the world without any modifications or accommodations.

I also do not have a pre-existing condition that leaves me vulnerable to Covid 19. However, my work is with vulnerable adults aging with disability and I have years of experience working with children on a similar path. I refer to both groups as people who are living with a disability because that is everyone’s goal — to live and to live a good life.

For the most part, I provide service to the fully vaccinated; we happily did that a long time ago. We also live in a state that has the second highest vaccination rate in the country, and a county that is a model to many. Now things are changing, and while I believe that everyone should have the right to make decisions about their own bodies, we are again at a crossroad.

This crossroad may not have a marker. Governor Baker has clearly said that these masking decisions are up to the local authorities should they want to make those decisions. I have no beef with Governor Baker. I have admired his approach all along. But this leaves many of us unable to participate fully in the world, because of everyone else’s decision to not mask, without recognizing what this decision might be doing to our most vulnerable citizens — our elders and our children.

The findings and purpose of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) 2008 might have some bearing on how we think about mask wearing. In enacting the ADA, Congress recognized that physical and mental disabilities in no way diminish a person’s right to fully participate in all aspects of society, but that people with physical or mental disabilities are frequently precluded from doing so because of prejudice, antiquated attitudes, or the failure to remove societal and institutional barriers.

Being around the unvaccinated, mask-less citizens in public places is a societal barrier for the vulnerable. It requires those who are vulnerable take on the burden of isolating. They have the burden of saying no to gatherings, to refusing a trip to the grocery store, to declining indoor exercise or gatherings, and to just being easily in the world with the people they love. In my life, I have campaigned for ramps and increased accessibility to public buildings, and advocated for ensuring our neighbors living with disabilities are a true part of our community.

None of that matters now if we have decided that our personal rights, the right to not wear a mask, is more important than the rights of all our community members. My not wearing a mask essentially says my rights supersede yours. I suppose that it also means that I have the right to stay home and not live my life if I am at risk. Boo hoo? Or do we see the difference? It is not a level playing field at all.

My hope is that this is challenged under the ADA, but I am not a disability law expert and imagine there are a million ways to poke holes in my argument. I suppose what I can only hope to do here is shine a light on the fact that sometimes rights are not just ours. The burden we put on our most vulnerable populations must be shared so that all people can fully participate in society. It is about the mask, but it is also about removing barriers.

For many of the people I work with, we see more isolation, less choice, and less joy coming our way. We are all holding breath that this will not happen. If we all just wear a mask, maybe some of the more vulnerable in our community can continue to contribute and participate as they always have. What I see instead are my clients being limited again in a significant way because they bear the burden of an unfair choice, participating or precluding from situations that put them at increased risk. So as we go about our day, the choice to wear a mask can also go with our choice to provide accommodation to all members of our community, to fully participate in all aspects of our Island life, safely.

Mary M. Holmes is the supervisor of the Supportive Day Program at the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living.