Students and staff navigate new choices with the mask mandate


Steven Tardif

The new mask update will allow students to decide if they want to wear mask or not

Tanmayi Sharat, Headlines Reporter

Masks have gone from required to recommended for District 204 staff and students as of Feb, 22. There has been a lot of debate on the necessity of masks due to rising vaccination rates and decreasing COVID-19 rates. This led to individuals of the IPSD community challenging the original mask-required mandate. District 204 eventually ruled that students and staff will have a choice when it comes to wearing a mask. In this first week of masks being optional, there has been a mix of students both wearing and not wearing masks. 

“I think that the majority of staff and students are still wearing masks,” building substitute teacher Matthew Schultz said.

Even though the mandate has been removed from 204 schools, many students continue to wear masks. Some believe that it is a sign of comfort against the virus, as well as it becoming a habit because students have been wearing masks since the beginning of the year.

“It is just an interesting phenomenon that most maybe use as a safety blanket,” Schultz said.

Some students and teachers believe that continuing to wear masks is also a sign of respect for those who might be immunocompromised or someone they know who might get sick.

“I believe that wearing a mask makes other people feel more comfortable, and with the pandemic going on, it feels like a safe option,” sophomore Barbara Cardenas said.

Some students, however, are seen wearing masks, but not properly. The masks are improperly worn under their nose and chin. These students are not willing to wear their masks fully or take them off completely, as there might be residual fear of the virus. Some students, however, believe that wearing masks is still a necessary precaution as COVID-19 numbers could rise again.

“Having your mask off does not mean it is going to keep making it [COVID-19 numbers] increase again,” freshman Bianca Hicks said.

But, there is respect and acceptance by students of those not wearing masks. Students and staff believe that wearing a mask or not is a choice that is made taking in all the factors that these individuals believe will affect them.