Mask mandate update

Isaac Wayne Carter, Staff Writer

The controversial topic of masks has taken to the courts in most of the states, including Illinois. The courts have ruled that the mask mandate is up to the school to make. This decision was made by the appellate court judges in spite of the governor’s ruling that expired on February 28. Although Pritzker lifted the mandate, he still wanted to keep it within the schools. 

According to NBC Chicago, Pritzker stated, “School outbreaks impact hundreds, even thousands of people across a community – and there are a whole lot more infections when districts are mask-less.” Pritzker might be trying to make sure the students of Illinois are safe and healthy; however, the COVID-19 hospitalization rate is dropping in Illinois. Overall, there is a disagreement between the governor and appellate court judges over the school mask mandate.

While the mandate is still being discussed, Franklin High School has decided to be mask optional for a couple of weeks now. Junior Aubrie Schumacher claimed, “I think that students have waited a long time to be able to not wear them. It is great to see everyone’s faces again!” 

Although we had to wear masks, not many students wore them correctly. Sophomore Jacob Carter stated, “I didn’t really wear my masks correctly anyway.” Even though masks were required, the students mostly wore them as “chin straps.” School is an environment where viruses can thrive, and the mask change may affect the amount of sickly children. Schumacher stated, “I think there may be a rise in cases but overall I feel like eventually most of us will become immune to the virus.” 

Although COVID is still around Illinois, the hospitalization rates are some of the lowest it has ever been. Carter believes, “COVID is finally on the downfall and students here are starting to become more immune to the virus.” While some of the students are not vaccinated, the virus may spread quickly, unless our school is able to go back to wearing masks quickly. This could be a possibility to fight off COVID-19 at school. If the school made it mandatory to wear masks again, it might be difficult at this point. Schumacher explained, “I would be a little bit frustrated because no one wore masks correctly anyway, so it’s a question everyday of if they actually do anything. It is also hard for the people who are vaccinated and ones told that it would allow them to not wear masks.” 

“Illinois Mask Mandate: End Date, Metrics, What to Know.” NBC Chicago, NBC Chicago, 24 Feb. 2022, https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/coronavirus/illinois-mask-mandate-end-date-metrics-what-to-know/2768609/.