Students adhere to the newly issued school mask mandate


Aidan Renteria

With a wave of uncertainty over which COVID guidelines should still be followed, comes the debate over masks and their necessity in the classroom.

Sydney Burleyson and Sarah Holzman

At the beginning of August, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced at a press conference that all schools PK-12 must mandate masks regardless of student and teacher vaccination status. This mandate comes with the recent surge in COVID-19 and Delta variant cases. The District 204 school board announced that they will be obeying this new mandate and require all students and staff to wear masks inside the schools on Aug. 11. 

Some have taken this decision to be positive and have come to no inconvenience, but others would prefer to skip the masks and return to complete normalcy. 

When asked about how she feels about wearing masks, sophomore Mona Kusumoto replied, “I think masks are really great…and, you know, it is very generic but it keeps everyone safe.”

Along with adapting to the newly implemented safety precautions and social distancing, students and staff also have to adapt to a new classroom dynamic such as 3ft of distance and continuous mask-wearing.

“One of the ways that I get a vibe with our students is by being able to see their face and their facial expressions,” Dean Matthew Walpole said. “But, I think if you ask most staff members, you know, they would prefer if it is safe to conduct school without masks.”

For some, wearing face masks has become a new part of their day-to-day life and has not had a significant impact on their school day, apart from physical activities. As of right now, masks are required for indoor sports but not required for outdoor sports 

“For me wearing a mask is not a problem,” sophomore Courtney Upton responded. “Though sometimes with physical activities it is a bit of a hassle. But overall it is not that big of a deal for me.”

As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are becoming more prominent, students and staff are willing to do what it takes to be able to return to a normal school year after a year and a half of distance learning.