Students react to lifted mask mandate

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Graphic by Audrey Kercher '23

Superintendent Thomas Scarice lifted the mask mandate in Westport public schools on Feb. 28. Staples students now choose between wearing a mask or not wearing one.

Students’ faces have been concealed for the past two years due to COVID-19. The Board of Education, with advice from Superintendent Thomas Scarice, has put an end to the mask mandate in Westport Public Schools as of Feb. 28. Now, students are left with the choice of wearing a mask and must adapt to this new step of COVID-19 recovery.

In Scarice’s superintendent update on Feb. 17, he provided the update about the lifting of the mask mandate.

“Students will not be required to wear a mask to school beginning Monday February 28 when they return from February break,” Scarice said in a Superintendent’s Update.

With masks becoming optional, students are given freedom to choose if they want to wear one. Most students and teachers have opted to not wear one, which is apparent by the full faces seen in the hallways. Charlotte Berner ’25 is one of the many Staples students not partaking in mask-wearing.

“I have decided to not wear a mask to school ever since the mandate was lifted,” Berner said. “Personally, as the cases have improved drastically and I have been vaccinated and boosted, I am comfortable without it.”

Along with the reasons stated by Berner, Daniela Garcia ’23 doesn’t wear a mask in school for an additional reason. 

“I see people often outside of school without masks, so I don’t think wearing a mask would protect me more,” Garcia said.

Regardless of an individual’s decision on mask wearing, it is important to be conscious of other people’s decisions as well.

“As a school, we should make sure that everyone feels comfortable in the building, with or without a mask, and that everyone respects the choice people make regarding mask wearing,” Berner said.

As a school, we should make sure that everyone feels comfortable in the building, with or without a mask, and that everyone respects the choice people make regarding mask wearing.”

— Charlotte Berner '25

Despite how many students feel comfortable without a mask, some are more reluctant to let theirs go. Spencer Yim ’23 remains wearing a mask, at least for the time being.

  Because I received my booster shot very recently,” Yim said, “I have decided to continue wearing my mask for two more weeks: not only to wait for the full inoculation period to be completed, but also as a cautious approach following February break.”

Staples students must do what makes them most comfortable. Whether wearing a mask or not, the main purpose of school is still to learn. 

I think it’s clear that the school community is ready to return to a pre-pandemic normal,” Yim said.  “So much learning has been lost over the course of these last two years, and it’s time to get everyone back on track.”