Mask or No Mask?

To some mask have become a fashion statement, there to protect you and the other’s around you. However, to others they are viewed as stupid and useless. To what extent are they affecting the schools and the students in it?


Kimberly Rich

At Lafayette High School, mask are required indoors except when you are playing a sport. Here is the Lafayette Volleyball team at their home game last week. Mask here are left up to personal opinion based on comfort level.

Senior, Meghan Degrandpre, is posing in front the tv located in the lower commons. Telling us Rams on how to properly wear our mask when indoors.

At the end of the summer and early fall schools all around the United States came back into full swing. For us at Lafayette this was the first time going back five days a week since the spring of 2020. Almost a year and a half later we are pushing to be normal again. However, there is one thing that is preventing us from being back to whatever our old normal use to be: Covid 19 is still a thing and affects people everyday. With the pandemic came the wearing of protective facial coverings (known as mask). These have become a part of many people’s daily lives. I personally tend to wear my mask religiously to protect others around me from myself incase they have underlying health issues. However, when schools were reopening, the wisdom of wearing masks was in question all around our nation.

Here in WJCC the rules about mandatory mask was up in the air down until the first day of school. For a while the rules for school were if you were vaccinated you weren’t required to wear a mask. This was a very unrealistic idea as people are creatures of habit and tend to follow others regardless of their vaccination status. This could easily result in outbreaks throughout the schools.

Another sign about properly wearing your mask, and to tell you to wear one is located in the school. Here at Lafayette we have signs all over the school to tell us to wear mask. (Kathryn Motes)

Luckily, before school started in August it was finally decided that all students in WJCC, regardless of vaccination status, would be required to wear mask when indoors. According to the WJCC school division only 35% of students eligible for the vaccine have been vaccinated. You would expect this number to be higher yet there are many students, and student families, who are still unsure of the vaccination. All of this comes down to fear and personal opinion, not really the science behind it.

We can take this information and understand better why we are having so many kids disappear from our classes.

Some don’t take the rules seriously and decide to wear their mask improperly. You can walk into any classroom at Lafayette and see at least one kid with their mask under their nose or not even pulled up covering their mouth and nose. This renders the masks ineffective as either protection for the wearer, or shielding for others. So far we have been lucky in WJCC, in large part thanks to masks being required.  As of today, 10/05/2021, we only have 50 students throughout the district in quarantine who has tested positive for Covid’19.

A sign located above the water fountain in 100’s hallway. It is encouraging you “Keep Lafayette Healthy”.

Let’s take a look at a district in Georgia. The City of Marietta’s school district did not require masks to be worn by any student or staff member, according to Grace Weeks, Marietta High School Student. In their first week (8/14-8/20) they had over 50 positive cases with about 800 students in “close contacts on campus”. The following week the amount of positive cases rose to over 60 with another 500 students in the category “close contacts on campus”. The cases for the first three weeks just continued to grow as mask mandates were not in place throughout the school district until the first few days of September. The statistics the school district has provided reveal that the cases and “close contacts on campus” dropped drastically once the mask rule was in place. As of September 24th, their last day of school before fall break, there was a total of only 24 positive cases, and a mere 65 “close contacts on campus”.

At Marietta High School this is the only sign that is shown around the school. Since, mask were not required at the beginning of school, these are the only signs up around the school.

Clearly masks do have an effect on protecting students in schools. I talked to two Lafayette seniors, Meghan Degrandpre and Reagan Hunt, about their feelings towards masks. Meghan said, “I feel like we have kept our case numbers down by wearing mask. I don’t really feel comfortable without wearing one due to the low numbers of students being vaccinated.” Reagan said, “I really think masks have helped. At the beginning I didn’t like them at all, however now I think the idea of them is great  as they prevent you from getting sick in general. So I do think they are beneficial.” I also talked to my friend, a sophomore at Marietta High School, Grace Weeks. She said, “It was nice starting the year without mask, but I was getting tired of being quarantined so I think maks have helped with that. I don’t think they are very beneficial to helping the community though. Since, schools are the only place they are mandated.”  Hopefully, with wearing mask we can continue our progress toward achieving a sense of normal. I believe without masks being mandated in schools we would see a surge of cases in the school district, as well as in the communities due to students bringing Covid’19 home. With wearing masks and having the vaccine available we can hope that this year we can avoid going back to virtual school.