Face Off: Keep the mask mandate at school

Junior Liam Eifert

Junior Liam Eifert

Liam Eifert, Managing Editor

If the state was ever right to instate a school mask mandate, then it is right to instate one now. 

The ultra transmissible omicron variant shot the nation up toward a record number of Covid-19 cases and although cases are down, the dangerous variant still festers in these very halls. The Mayo Clinic echoes the accepted and at this point somewhat mundane truth that face masks “can help slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.” 

Stopping the spread of a virus which currently kills 9,000 a day worldwide should be reason enough for a mask mandate, but schools in particular must do everything in their power to contain the spread of the virus. 

As a mandatory gathering place, schools have a responsibility to be as safe as possible. No child should have reasonable cause to fear by coming to school, but a repeal of the mask mandate would leave some kids seriously weighing their options on whether or not to come to school. Without opt-in online learning, the decision to stay home could be catastrophic for the educational development of the child. 

The situation would be stark for the immunocompromised, and those living with them, who may be forced to risk a life-threatening illness in order to learn like everybody else. Mask mandates not only protect their immediate health but provide them with a sense of security at school. 

It is no great secret that mask mandates, in schools and otherwise, are routinely ignored. But, mask hesitancy should not prompt us to drop the prospect of masking altogether. Covid-19 safety measures cannot be given up at the swaying whims of the masses. The virus infects us as inevitably as the apple falls, and in both, only science can guide us.