Written by Elias Chane and Sheryl Chen
Illustrated by Justina Wilkins
It has been about two weeks since masking at M-A became optional and its impacts have been immediately felt on campus. Some students and staff have taken off their masks entirely, while others have decided to wear masks. Some have half-committed to both causes, wearing their masks only over their mouth, but not over their nose.
During the first four days after the mask mandate was lifted, the Chronicle surveyed 28 classes to find the number of students not wearing masks. The results showed that of the classes we surveyed, an average of 6.25 students in were unmasked in each class.
Math teacher Steven Kryger said, “I wish the district had clear policies and recommendations. I think this topic was a difficult decision for the Board to make because they’re not medical experts, but that’s the problem. I think it was a huge mistake that our District never hired an expert on this issue to help us navigate our decision.”
Senior Asher Allen had similar sentiments, saying, “Do I think it is helpful? What does ‘strong recommendation’ mean? Does that mean I should wear it? Are you just saying ‘strong recommendation’ because legally they can’t make people do it but they want them to? So I think they should make it more specific and clear-cut as to what their opinions are because right now it falls down to what the students think.”
Some students choose not to wear a mask because of their vaccination status. Junior Jacqueline Nassiri said, “I’m vaccinated, all my family is vaccinated, all my friends are vaccinated, and most people at M-A are vaccinated.”
Junior Faith Cropper agreed, saying, “I’m fully vaxxed and boosted. No one in my family is at high risk.”
Social pressure is also a variable in student masking choices. Cropper said, “I wear my mask in some of my classes ,but not all of them. I tend to wear them more in classes where everyone else is.”
Allen added, “I don’t know, just going with the flow. If the majority of people in the class are wearing it, I will. If the majority aren’t, I won’t. If someone asks me to put it on, I’ll put it on. I personally don’t feel very at risk, so I’m pretty flexible.”