Students express views on continuous in-school mask mandate


Graphic contributed by Alexa Lunney '23

Staples’ mask mandate, which has been in place since 2020, is set to expire in mid-February, but may be extended after that time.

Staples High School has required students and staff to wear masks in the building ever since the return to school in fall of 2020. This mandate is currently in place for schools in Connecticut but not in place for individual towns. As of now, the mandate is set to expire in mid-February, as Governor Lamont’s pandemic emergency powers last through February 15, 2022. 

“It can be extended into the spring if need be but there is also a [50/50] chance that it will end in January,” Staples Principal Stafford Thomas said. 

It can be extended into the spring if need be but there is also a [50/50] chance that it will end in January.

— Staples Principal Stafford Thomas

As COVID-19 rates in Connecticut appear to be slowing, students have expressed varying opinions on whether masks should still be required at school. Generally, students believe that the mask mandate is a safe choice for the student body since it is the best way to keep all people safe, regardless of vaccination status.

“I know a lot of other schools are opening things up,” Lexie Fass ’25 said. “But I think it’s good to stay safe because I know that some people still aren’t vaccinated here.” 

Others believe that unvaccinated students should be required to take additional precautions compared to those who are. 

“I think that the unvaccinated people, since they have a choice to get vaccinated, should wear a mask even if they do remove the mandate,” Fass said. “But, I think that the people that are vaccinated should have a choice whether or not to wear a mask.”

As cases slow down, due to cautions taken and the abundance of people being vaccinated, some students believe there is less of a need for masks. Since vaccinated teachers recently were given the option to teach, socially distanced, without a mask, students have expressed wishes to be able to remove their masks at school as well. For example, Johnny Raho ’22 sees mask-wearing as an individual responsibility rather than something that should be required by schools. 

“I think it would be great if masks were optional,” Raho said. “So, if you would want to wear one you could […] I think as a school, we should move on from the mask […] and [individuals can] proceed with [their] own caution.” 

Despite some discomfort that may come with having to keep a mask on all day, students acknowledge that is the healthiest choice, as COVID-19 still has not been eradicated. 

“I hope there is a day when we can stop [wearing masks at school], but I think right now, we’re in a good place,” Peter Loranger ’24 said. “I think [the rule] should stay how it is. An abundance of caution is good.”