The Mask Mandate Returns


Kylee Langley

Erica Plutat’s class works with masks on during a test.

After the numerous amount of COVID-19 quarantines and positive cases around the school corporation, LCSC has decided to return to the mask mandate.

Students walk down the hallway on the first day of the new mask mandate. (Justin Snay)

According to a letter sent out by Michele Starkey, “In the first 20 days of the 2020-2021 school year we had a total of 178 individuals either quarantined or isolated . . . In the same time this year, there have been 901 individuals either quarantined or isolated . . .”

Also, there were only six positive cases during the first 20 days of the 2020-2021 school year. There were 48 positive cases in the first 20 days of this school year.

The CDC recommends that, due to the highly contagious delta variant, all students, teachers, and staff wear masks while indoors.

Freshman, Marbella Nieves-Hernandez expressed her support for the mask mandate.

“I appreciate the fact overall that the mandate is back and will be following all precautions to make sure that one of these school years we are able to take steps into a more positive future,” Nieves-Hernandez said.

The past few weeks have been a testament to the previous mask mandate, which was a mix of students wearing masks and not wearing masks. Principle Matt Jones has seen the impact of students not wearing masks.

Kathy Rozzi’s class works with masks on. (Justin Snay)

“As a Corporation, we have more positives when comparing at the same time last year, up 700% and students in quarantine up 400%. It has gone up immensely. Academically, students in quarantine have a challenging time staying up in classes, can become disconnected. Extra-curricular teams have had games canceled, or teams do not have an entire squad. It affects the whole school community,” Jones said.

This new mask mandate will allow students to be able to stay in school and get the quality of education they need to pass all their classes. Michele Starkey, the school superintendent, has a strong reason behind creating the mandate again.

“We are all tired of dealing with the pandemic, and do not like wearing the masks; but, given the Governor’s executive order with everyone wearing masks, we will be able to keep students in school. Which is what we need to do!” Starkey said.

Many students have had a hard time being in quarantine, with many students not getting the quality of education they would if they were attending in-person classes.

“My grades have dropped here and there because of me being in quarantine. I can’t do the in-class assignments if they are on paper. I don’t think I’m getting the full education when quarantined because when you are at home, you don’t get taught the material. You only get the assignments, and then have to try to learn them on your own,” freshman Erick Howard said.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order that would allow schools to halt quarantine restrictions that have stymied the start of the school year by sending students home for weeks at a time.

“When the Governor came out with the executive order stating that we were not allowed to do anything less restrictive than what was in the order, I knew that we would need to adhere to the guidance and that the order would allow us to keep more kids in school. The executive order made things clear on how we should proceed at this point,” Starkey said.