Mask On, Mask Off

Mask Mandates in Public High Schools


Jack Godek

Masking Up: What affects mask mandates in public high schools?

Connor Nieman and Kaleigh Porcu

     Mask mandates in public high schools differ as you travel throughout the United States. States like Connecticut and Massachusetts currently require masks in high schools, while Florida and Texas do not enforce mask mandates but allow counties and districts to decide mandates for themselves. 

     With the Covid-19 vaccine now eligible for kids ages five and older, Americans have different opinions about students wearing masks in school.

     An executive order from Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont remains in place that requires universal masking in all school buildings in Connecticut. As a result, all students and staff at Foran need to wear masks while in school.

     But some states have more complicated guidelines than either requiring or not requiring masks in high schools. An article published by District Administration, a digital magazine for educators, states that on Oct. 26, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards allowed public schools to go mask optional if they continue to follow CDC guidelines.

     However, the article states, “Rapides Parish School Board allows students to opt out of mask mandates, but students identified as close contacts must wear a mask for the following 10 days.”

     A common trend related to which states are and aren’t loosening mask restrictions may be whether they are run by a Republican or a Democrat. While most of the northern states are governed by Democrats and require masks, the majority of the southern states are governed by Republicans and leave masks in school as a matter of personal preference.

     This is evidenced by how Democrat-run states like New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island all require masks in high schools, while Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana have masks as optional in high schools and are run by Republicans.

     Foran junior Kevin Chen believes that masks should be mandated in high schools due to the ability of Covid-19 to spread throughout the building. On the other hand, Chen states, “Local governments should decide on mask mandates because each region has a different situation.” He continues, “Some areas may be less strict than others based on the population and severity of the virus.”

     Making sure Foran’s community is safe and healthy during these difficult times is one of the top priorities of the staff. 

     Dr. Ashley Dobuzinsky is a medical terminology and certified nursing assistant program teacher at Foran and Jonathan Law. She has also been a registered nurse for sixteen years. 

     She states, “In my clinical work as an adjunct clinical professor, I do not work with patients acutely infected with Covid-19. However, I have worked with patients with a history of past infection and I have seen firsthand some of the lingering effects of Covid-19. The long term effects for some patients has resulted in a significant impact on their overall health and they have suffered profound disability as a result.”