Editorial: District made correct decision to continue mask policy

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Do you agree with the district's decision to continue the mask policy?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the plans to lift the state-wide mask mandate March 2 and carried out the changes March 10. During that time period, Superintendent Holly Ferguson announced March 4 that face coverings will still be required inside the school. However, face coverings are no longer required in outdoor spaces. This district-wide decision went into effect after spring break on March 15.

Given that student’s safety should be the top priority, the district made the right choice to continue the indoor mask policy. Students have a multitude of activities to do in-person that occur in the spring. This participation could be jeopardized without requiring masks and other virus-related restrictions.

A graphic made by junior Riley Miller illustrates a survey done by the district. The district took the survey after Governor Greg Abbott announced he would lift the state mask mandate March 2. On March 4, the district announced that they would continue requiring face coverings inside schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Students need to be able to feel and stay safe when they’re at school, and masks are the best way to maintain that. Even though Abbott lifted the mask mandate, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to be without a mask. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 is still just as dangerous and contagious as ever. Students may find masks uncomfortable and want to stop wearing them, but they’re still important for everyone’s safety during this pandemic.

As the fourth nine-week grading period starts, spring activities are increasing. UIL academics, track, soccer, baseball and powerlifting all compete right now. Further, prom, graduation, senior week and other activities will occur in the next few months. If students don’t wear masks at school, they’re more likely to be exposed, be quarantined or get sick and have to miss out. Also, many students will take AP tests, STAAR tests, and the SAT and ACT – which are all in-person.

These activities cause multitudes of unneeded stress among students and staff, and emphasizes the reason to continue to mask up. With all this, the last thing students and staff need to worry about is the possibility of a jeopardized lesson or activity due to COVID-19. 

Another positive part about the district’s decision is that it allows for changes to the policy as the situation changes. The district said that as more employees receive the vaccine, the district may make adjustments. Currently, the vaccine is becoming more available, now that high-risk people have had the opportunity to obtain it first. With an increase in vaccines, the risk of the COVID-19 spread will decrease, and if enough students and staff receive the vaccine, the mask policy could be reevaluated before the end of the year.

While the continued mask policy comes with benefits and could lower stress levels, many students, staff members and teachers continued to provide their belief on the topic at a school board meeting held on Monday, March 15. Many counter arguments were offered to the continuation of the policy, such as conflicting scientific evidence of the effectiveness of masks outside of a controlled environment, the power a school district has to enforce the wearing of face coverings and students’s views on the option of remote learning if sickness was present to eliminate the need of protection. Even with these claims, however, the continuation of the mask policy will provide extra protection, even if the opposing scientific studies prove to be true, due to fewer quarantining possibilities for athletes, students and staff.

As a result, the district made the correct decision when they chose to still require masks inside. This choice puts student and faculty’s safety first, especially in the stressful time of the final nine weeks. With this, all individuals should wear their masks correctly while inside and around others in order to stop the spread of the virus and lower the strain during this stressful season.

Editor’s Note: Caleb Audia and Amanda Hare worked together on this editorial on behalf of the Eagle Nation Online staff.

A graphic made by junior Soomin Chung illustrates a survey done by the district. In the attached editorial, junior reporters Caleb Audia and Amanda Hare defend the school’s decision to require masks indoors. Masks will not be required outdoors. (Soomin Chung)