Massive Changing Mask Mandate

Liam S, Columnist

In March of 2020, COVID-19 shut down school, and students and teachers were forced to carry out their lessons from home. Then in the next year, St. Robert had a mask mandate throughout the year, hiding smiles behind cloth. This year, the St. Robert’s health and safety team decided to make masks optional a few weeks after students returned from Christmas break. “The decision wasn’t really sudden,” says Mr. Zolinski, a valued member of the St. Robert health and safety team. “We knew we were going to go mask optional [at some point] from the start of the year.”

Another member of the health and safety team, Mr. Fedie says that the policy is pretty self explanatory, not really anything else but “masks are completely optional.” Mr. Fedie experiences kids in his classroom not wearing masks. He says, “It shows that everyone’s health is really good and it gives me a lot of hope. It is more convenient without masks in my classroom I would say.” A middle school student, Aaron, commented, “My favorite thing about being a mask optional is being able to see my friend’s faces.”

As masking has become optional, students have begun to wonder what other changes may be ahead of them in the coming school year. . For example, this year, even without masks, students have still been split into two different groups to attend Mass and haven’t participated in large cross-grade level activities, like spirit teams or viewing the 8th grade vs. teacher annual volleyball game.  Plus, some restrictions in music class continue as “[We] still have our band spread out during rehearsals,” says Mr. Zolinski. Aaron says, “I believe that next year we will have a completely normal school year, like the years prior to 2020.” He, and many others, hope that other restrictions, just like the masking policy, are loosened next school year.

The school has been mask optional for multiple months now without any significant issues to be seen. However, there is still some concern as “One thing that could happen in the future is higher cases,” says Aaron, “Although I don’t think it will happen.”

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