The Decision on Masks Will Cause More Damage Than Good


April 19 marked the first day masks were no longer required in school. Students and staff were informed of this simultaneously, and in that time, opinions of the matter grew divided. To some, it seemed a relief to no longer bother with the annoyance of wearing one — and for others, the decision only magnified worries of getting sick. But above all else, the health of the community is the highest priority — and a leniency on masks jeopardizes that.

To begin, this leniency holds no benefit. Other than breathability or comfort, there are few reasons for the school to allow masks to be off. Even considering vaccines — which, in their current state, are not a complete guarantee — leaving masks off poses a threat to students and staff alike. School-wide, there is no advantage in not wearing masks, and the allowing of this can only cause more harm than good.

It should also be addressed that the decision came far too early, especially considering the current risk of COVID-19. Although they are less frequent than before, COVID-19 cases are still present within the district, and the decision does not help the fact. The safety of students and staff is a priority above comfort, and should be recognized as such. With the spread of the virus still a risk within the school, the decision to allow masks to be off was a premature one.

But even more importantly, masks — by their intent — are almost pointless in protecting the person wearing them: instead, they function to protect the people around the wearer, and by allowing students to take them off, those deciding to wear them are still put at risk. By removing their masks, students not only put themselves in danger, but also those around them — regardless of if they themselves are wearing one. The leniency on masks holds less regard for those at risk than is realized, and this should be acknowledged by the school district.

It is argued by some that, with vaccines coming out, a leniency on masks is understandable. While this may be true, that does not mean the decision is necessary. Vaccines have yet to be distributed to students, and even then, they are not a complete guarantee. Even with the promise of protection brought by vaccines, the chance of another outbreak is only aided by the district’s decision.

The decision to allow masks to be off, although more comfortable, causes more damage than good. And when it comes down to the health and safety of the community, the decision has no place at this point in time.