To Mask or Not to Mask?

More students are vaccinated than ever before, yet the masks are staying on


Alexis Otterbein

Masked sophomore Kaya Paluda talks with unmasked freshman Krysta Tschida share a laugh during class. St. Vrain’s current masking policy requires masks in schools but allows some exemptions. This has caused some concern and chaos as students wonder whether masking is worth it anymore.

Alexis Otterbein, Staff Illustrator

Should we still have to wear masks in school?

This has been a huge matter of public opinion all around the country. Different school districts and areas have different rules, which has led to student walkouts and parent protests. While St. Vrain hasn’t had that level of drama around masking, there have been lots of mixed feelings around Frederick’s current mask policy.

As of now, St. Vrain follows the state mask mandate: “the Sixth Amended Public Health Order 20-38 requires unvaccinated people to wear masks in specific settings […] When schools and/or their communities have low vaccination rates and are experiencing high rates of community transmission (defined as 35 cases per 100,000 people over seven days), the local public health agency should work with schools and school districts to institute higher precautionary measures.” That means masking for St. Vrain students at the current rate of infections.

Yet there are exceptions, or rather exemptions. If a student has a medical issue that makes wearing a mask difficult for them, they can get an exemption for wearing a mask. All their parent has to do is submit an exemption agreement–no medical documentation required. Yet this isn’t a free pass: students that are maskless are quarantined at a much higher rate than mask-wearing students.

While COVID-19 has affected everyone’s life so much over the past year,  it’s understandable why people would want to go back to how things were before. Senior Dylan Andes told us, “I like the usage of mask, but they are hard to breathe in.” Senior Kailah Smith added that “my personal opinion is it might be a little hard to breathe, but overall it does help the community”

Overall, most students we interviewed didn’t mind the masks, though lots of Frederick staff and students still have their worries, as a lot of students are still against following the guidelines. Spanish Teacher Virginia Pacheco stated “I think it’s necessary it’s not very nice to have it but it’s necessary”

To be fair, the ones breaking the rules are a small minority. Frederick principal Dr. Russell Fox said, “I think most of our students are following are mask rules. When students don’t, then we have conversations with them. We’re doing are best to remind students to were the mask appropriately.”

But should we be wearing the mask at all, even if we are vaccinated? “I don’t really have strong opinions one way or another,” Dr. Fox told us. “I’m just grateful we can have all of our students in our school five days a week.” He then added that schools, the district, and the CDC are all trying to keep people safe, and that’s the more important thing right now. So mask-on or mask-exempt, everyone should work together to end this pandemic.