Is the new school district’s mask mandate appropriate?

On Monday, Sept. 20, the mask color-coded chart came into effect for the School District of Washington as voted on by the school board. With the four stages of green, yellow, orange and red, an updated plan has been put into place for the near future. As the winter season approaches and nationwide COVID-19 cases rise, a plan will be proven necessary even though it hopefully doesn’t need use. 

At the beginning of the year, it was noticeable as our school was seemingly shrinking in size with all of the quarantines. Even with more relaxed rules on contact tracing compared to last year, it was very obvious that COVID was making the school smaller again. Though they are currently in the green level, it could easily change to yellow or even orange based on the percentage of students out of the building because of COVID-19. 

Personally, I like the idea of the yellow stage the most in which a specific school that has 18-25% of students out with the virus will mandate masks for a two week period until reevaluation. It doesn’t make sense to implement a mask mandate district wide if the problem is only in a couple of schools. This way it allows for students to learn without dealing with a mask unless it is absolutely necessary. 

Personally, I think a mask mandate would not be the end of the world, but is not an ideal situation. If it is possible, a mask mandate should be avoided. It is not fair for those who are vaccinated to be forced to wear a mask because of those that chose not to get the vaccine. It is a matter of public safety and those doing their part are not being rewarded. A person that is vaccinated should not have to wear a mask while those who are unvaccinated should have to in my personal opinion. However, if COVID-19 is spreading at a high rate in a building, it seems very fair for a mask mandate to be reinstated for all. Whatever protects the public the most in a time of crisis should be mandated for the general welfare of the public.

COVID-19 is a severe virus that does harm to or even take away people’s lives. With that being said, I agree with the new school district policy as it is an effective way to balance between bringing life back to where it was in 2019 and keeping everyone safe from COVID. Though it is not time to throw away the masks yet, hopefully vaccination rate increases and when necessary mask mandates can lead life back to a normal soon.