Masks in school: what has changed?


Viraj Desai

Students in Ms. Schneider’s Creative Writing class smile at the camera.

Viraj Desai, Staff Writer

The 2022-2023 school year will be the first normal year since the COVID-19 pandemic, which means the pandemic restrictions have been lifted significantly. This year, coming back to school looks much different to all returning students, and one main reason for this change is the new regulations relating to face masks. Last year, masks were required by all students for the first semester, and were optional for the second semester. However, most Neuqua students still preferred to wear masks at the end of last year. This year, it has changed a bit, since the majority of students have opted not to wear a mask. The change from both years is a bit drastic, and many students have different views on the new regulations based on personal opinions. Masks in school: what has changed?

It has been observed throughout the school that most students have chosen to opt out of the mask requirement. Unlike last year, students have decided to accept COVID-19 as it is, and move on with their lives without masks. Neuqua Valley Junior David Hwang says he feels not wearing his mask will not “drastically impact the return of COVID-19 to the point of lockdown, because we have vaccines that are very developed and just like any other virus, it won’t be a huge threat to our immune systems.” Hwang also says, “it was hard to breathe and focus at school” when he wore a mask. Junior Simran Alur also adds to this, saying that “everybody is vaccinated and most people have already had COVID, so with the 2 month thing [their] immunity should be fine.” This mindset is carried by most Neuqua students, as most believe that the virus has been present long enough for them to develop herd immunity. 

Although the vast majority of people have chosen not to wear a mask, some students still want to follow the mask guidelines. Junior Libby High says she has “friends whose families are higher risk, and because of that they wear masks. Out of respect and sympathy for them, [she] wears it.” Senior Nithila Gumastha says she is “scared to give COVID-19 to [her] parents and [her] sister.” She also says it will “take some time to the point when everyone will inevitably get the virus.” As a precaution until that time, she has chosen to keep her mask on. Like these students, many people have chosen to keep their mask on because of personal reasons, or because they believe the virus is still present and precautions are needed.  

Overall, many students have different opinions that influence their decisions to wear masks in school. Past experiences and current situations are some factors that are influencing the students’ decisions. Although the learning environment is similar to last year, it definitely feels like a more normal year due to the changed decisions. However, no matter what people decide to do with their masks, Neuqua continues to be a safe and healthy school environment.