Face Off: Drop the mask mandate at school

Senior Nicholas Rodecap

Senior Nicholas Rodecap

Nicholas Rodecap, Co-Editor-in-Chief

We entered this school year with the hope of not having to wear masks. This optimism aged like milk, and we were back wearing masks by the end of August because nearly 10% of the student body was quarantined. Cathedral has “required” masks ever since, but you wouldn’t believe it when you look around the school. 

Throughout the following months, I walked the halls with a watchful eye. I noticed a 50/50 split between students wearing masks properly (over their mouth AND nose) and students who did not have any face covering visible within a six-foot radius of their person. As I write this, students pass by my classroom with no mask anywhere to be seen. On occasion, I’ll hear an inquisitive “Where’s your mask?” from an adult during a passing period, but the odds of teachers enforcing the mask “requirement” are quite low. 

I can’t blame students for ignoring it. Every day, we eat lunch in a packed cafeteria, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in the vast expanse of one of the Innovation Center’s crowning features. It looks like a pre-pandemic renaissance. But wait! You can’t buy food unless you have a mask! Then, once you sit down, Covid-19 takes its lunch break. You have to “wear” a mask during assemblies, but basketball games? Nah. Pack the WAC. 

A rule that goes unenforced is no rule at all. Until teachers hold students accountable for their willful ignorance and make them realize that their actions have real repercussions, nothing will change. Assuming the same is true for schools statewide, why does the governor even bother? 

Without masks, the students who wish to wear them will continue to do so. By and large, the campus dynamic will remain unchanged, with one exception: fewer chin straps on students’ faces.