Since March 12th, the District has “strongly recommended:  masking at M-A. Following Spring Break, about a month after the district’s masking recommendation was changed, the M-A Chronicle surveyed 157 people, for a total of 111 students and 46 staff members, on their masking preferences.

The consensus showed that the majority of students were indifferent to masks not being required at M-A. In response to the question, “Now that masking at M-A is strongly recommended, and many students and staff are taking off their masks, how do you feel?” 51% of students answered, “I have no strong feelings about masking,” and 27% responded, “I am happy that masks are no longer required.” A majority of students also report no change in their feeling of safety at school with only 33% of respondents noting that they felt “Less safe since the mask mandate was removed.”

Now that masking a M-A is strongly recommended, and many students and staff are taking off their masks, how do you feel?

Students responses

Respondents were also asked their vaccination status and whether they had contracted COVID-19 before.

The data also showed disparities between teachers and students. The majority of teachers, around 70% of teachers either thought the decision to unmask should have been delayed or should never have been made. Staff and students also differ on whether they wear masks outside of school with 54% of staff always wearing masks compared to 45% of students that wear masks outside of school.

Both students and teachers were encouraged to leave comments about their overall feelings about masking at M-A. One teacher noted, “Public Health experts said that we were ready to move to mask-optional, so we need to follow the expectations of the public health experts! We are education experts and should continue the difficult work in front of us without second-guessing those with actual medical expertise.”

Staff members were also asked if they could answer the question, “How did you feel when you saw students maskless in your classroom for the first time?” Teachers gave mixed responses on this question. Many noted that they were, “Happy to see students’ faces,” but many also noted feeling, “concerned,” and, “nervous.” 

Another staff member cited COVID vaccination status as a reason for unmasking, “For me personally, a mask is awful to teach in. My glasses fog, and the mask makes it difficult for students to hear me. Also, the hot flashes that come with menopause definitely don’t mix with a mask. I feel safer wearing one, but I am so much more comfortable without. Since I am fully vaccinated and boosted (and since I had COVID in January), I am choosing comfort over safety these days.”

One student’s response was, “In class I do still wear a mask but I’m not as careful. My parents told me after spring break that I didn’t need to wear a mask if I didn’t want to but I still chose to wear a mask in school. In public I sometimes wear a mask.” This same student also interestingly cited social pressure to unmask, “I feel like my family is socially pressuring me to not wear a mask and most of my friends don’t but inside I still choose to wear a mask to protect myself from the people around me.”

While teachers and students differed in their responses on many questions, both groups agreed that more people have been unmasking as time has gone on.

Do you feel that less people have been wearing masks as time has passed?

Staff responses

Do you feel that less people have been wearing masks as time has passed?

Students responses

Elias Chane is a senior at M-A this year. He enjoys writing opinion pieces, and about politics. Elias is excited to be a part of journalism this year and looks forward to writing many incredible articles.

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