Student Choice: Mask or No Mask?


Chris Pearcy

Students wear a wide-array of masks.

It’s a new year at LHS, and LCSC is hoping to jump on the road to recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted all plans last year. With this change, LCSC has decided to give the choice of wearing a mask entirely to students, giving them the freedom to choose. So what has been considered by students and staff alike when making this decision, and what led the corporation to give them this choice?

Sophomores Kelsey Thomas, Layla Powell, Alexis Enyeart, Senior Lorena Alvarez, and Junior Gracie Kitchell pose masked and unmasked for a picture in swing choir. (Leah Alder)

Sophomore Finley Gay is a student at LHS who wears a mask to school.

“I think it’s good that we feel we’re safe with masks off, but I think without masks it’ll be much easier as a school to have higher quarantines and cases without masks. I wear a mask so I don’t get sick. I have both doses, but the mask is an extra layer of security for me,” Gay said.

Others, however, feel safe enough to not wear a mask due to their vaccine dosage and feel comfortable without that “extra layer of security.” English teacher Grace Scott feels this way.

“I really debated about the choice to wear a mask or not. I don’t want anyone to ever feel uncomfortable around me, but I made the choice to get vaccinated when the vaccine was available, and that is one of the major reasons I feel comfortable without a mask,” Scott said.

Other staff and students have more reasons to worry about COVID than others, such as family and other factors. World history teacher Angela Harmon is in this situation.

“I’m wearing one because not everyone else is wearing one, and really because this is to protect students because I’m vaccinated and I probably wouldn’t get extremely sick if I got Covid, but I would hate to make other people sick so that’s one of the reasons why I wear it. I also have a special needs son, so I don’t want to risk him and so he has to wear a mask too.”

Juniors Emily Cole and Jenna Gross work on Algebra II assignments in class. (Leah Alder)

All of these choices wouldn’t have been possible without the allowance from the school, so how did the school corporation decide on this and what did they take into account?

“Right now I believe it is giving people the opportunity to make their own choice, whether you are vaccinated or not. Hopefully, making the choice to wear a mask will help curb the spread during a time where the number of cases continues to increase dramatically; however, if cases continue to rise we may have to return to last year’s mask mandate,” Superintendent Michele Starkey said.

Some students who wear masks think differently though and propose a different strategy.

“I think we should have taken the process slower in terms of getting masks off. Especially after summer vacation, with people having traveled and gone places, I feel we should have had a waiting period with masks on. For the first few weeks, they’re mandatory, and then after that, it’s optional,” Gay said.

Other teachers, who don’t wear masks, agree with the current approach the corporation is taking, but hope that people still continue to make these decisions whilst educated.

Sophomore Alexis Enyeart concentrates on her chemistry homework. (Leah Alder)

“I think we are taking baby steps in the right direction as people continue to get vaccinated and help stop the spread. I hope that folks will continue to research the best option for themselves. I appreciate being able to speak with medical professionals and learning from their research and data,” Scott said.

Despite these differing opinions, it is in the best interest of the school corporation to keep students and staff safe amongst this virus.

“I believe that we are in a very trying time with the number of cases increasing in our community. I also know that fatigue is also a huge factor; everyone is tired and worn out from dealing with the pandemic. We are going to have to continue to be cautious and move forward slowly in order to keep everyone safe. Our goal is to keep our students and staff safe and in school,” Starkey said.

So as Logansport schools begin again to try to tackle whatever new and recurring problems this pandemic has and will throw at them, students and staff will have the choice to wear or to not wear a mask as of right now.