Masking choices should be made judgment-free

Everyone should feel comfortable to make their own decision

OPHS+students+work+in+class+after+mask+mandate+is+lifted+%2F+Lucy+Heine-Van+Fossen

OPHS students work in class after mask mandate is lifted / Lucy Heine-Van Fossen

The Editorial Board, Oak Park Talon

As Oak Park High School begins to incorporate its updated rules, the most important thing to remember is that the students here are fully expected to make their own decision regarding whether they will wear a mask. Whether their reasons are disclosed or not, these choices are left up to individual students; to that end, no pressure should be placed on any students to choose one way or another. 

“Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health, and Human Services Secretary led a press conference for CDPH … at which he announced that CDPH updated its guidance for the use of face coverings to reflect that after 11:59 p.m. on March 11, 2022, students in K-12 settings will be strongly recommended, but not required to mask while indoors,” a StudentSquare post stated.

March 14 marks the first day in almost exactly two years that students were allowed to come to school maskless. In the time that has passed since the mandate has been eased, there have been Oak Park High School students who choose to ditch the mask in class and those who choose to keep their mask on. 

Walking into a classroom on campus now, you will see a mix of students wearing masks and also safely unmasking, communicating with each other easily.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic there have been countless instances of peer pressure telling students to wear masks, not wear them, etc. Regardless of these past occurrences, heading into the time frame with the new rules, the student population should continue to be accepting of both of these potential decisions. 

The school has aimed to promote the mental and physical safety of all of their students. That includes making sure people are being protected from COVID-19, but also being able to feel comfortable within their personal masking choices. Students should be able to make their own choices about whether or not they want to wear a mask indoors without fear of judgment from their peers.

We are glad to see that Oak Park High School is a place where students feel safe and that their decisions regarding masking are accepted. As COVID-19 cases fluctuate we hope that everyone is able to enjoy the school year without judgment.