Can We Keep Our Masks On?

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Jordan Bivins

The night of April 19, 2021, Arizona governor Doug Ducey released a statement stating he was rescinding the mask mandate in schools. This means that individual districts are now the decision makers on whether or not they will continue to have their students, teachers and other staff wear masks while attending their schools. Over 20 of the Arizona school districts have already announced they will finish off their school year wearing masks. As of, April 20, Chandler Unified School District has not announced their decision only that they are having a live board meeting that can be viewed virtually, on Wednesday, April 21. 

As a student of CUSD, I’m hoping that the board members will take into consideration the conditions of schools. I know classmates who live with family members who are at risk, have their own health risks and all around would feel unsafe in a school that is not looking out for their safety. Even though students ages 16 and up can get the vaccine, there are many students who have not. There is also the majority of students that are younger than 16. 

On Wednesday night, the CUSD school board met and decided to keep masks a requirement for students. There are a few exceptions including those in outside PE classes. Also, as long as the cases keep going down, they will have masks be optional at in person summer school classes.  

Governor Ducey stated that his decision lined up that of the CDC and was made because of all of the adults that have been vaccinated. It is unclear how his decision lines up with CDC guidelines currently because in the statements regarding masks in schools they say, “When you wear a mask, you protect others as well as yourself. Masks work best when everyone wears one.” The CDC says that the only safe environment for people to gather without masks is when all members are from the same household or when members are vaccinated. This is not the environment that would be given in schools if the district decided to let schools not wear masks. 

Overall, the decision to rescind the mask mandate in schools could very well lead to an unsafe environment from students and teachers. It’s important for districts to make the decision that will create safety in schools because what kind of school would purposefully create a dangerous environment for their students and teachers? No matter the decision, it’s important to continue to wear your masks over your nose and mouth to slow the spread of this virus.