It’s been nine days of school, and we are already masking up. Due to the rising cases in Fayette County, McIntosh High School has decided to create a mask mandate for the next 10 days. McIntosh High School, as of now, is the only high school in Fayette County that has made this decision. According to an email sent out to all students and parents at McIntosh: “This action is one step we are taking to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 at McIntosh High School.”
So far parents have been encouraged to be on watch for cold-like symptoms, to keep children who do have cold-like symptoms at home, and to stress the importance of washing hands throughout the day.
Fayette County believes that “With your cooperation, our students can stay in school, and continue receiving face-to-face instruction with their teachers.”
As of now, whether students are vaccinated or not does not affect if they need to mask up.
According to the CDC “new data began to emerge that the Delta variant was more infectious and was leading to increased transmissibility when compared to other variants, even in vaccinated individuals.”
The large majority of teachers are in agreement with the school.
Most teachers believe that wearing a mask will be an overall beneficial thing for McIntosh.
Shawanda Johnson, the bookkeeper of McIntosh, believes wearing masks “is very important.” She says, “I have firsthand experience of what COVID can do: loss of family members, having to watch my mom have COVID for 24 days, and not being able to see her, hug her, having family members pass away.”
Emily Hodge, the Media Center Specialist, says, “I was actually really glad. I kind of had felt in my heart, this whole time that we probably were headed that direction or needed to. I’m vaccinated, but now even vaccinated people can still get the Delta variant so I felt like it was the best thing for everybody to do.”
Our school resource officer, Officer Weathersby, believes that “it’s a good deal for safety reasons for … the staff [and] students to wear a mask, because the numbers in schools are blowing up and we want to keep everybody safe.”
Some teachers at McIntosh believe that wearing a mask just follows plain common sense.
Aaron Rafter, a math teacher, says, “Science says it works.”
Brandon Kunz, a social studies teacher says, “I think it’s anything we can do to keep kids in school [Masks would] be helpful, anyway I think it’s worth a shot.”
Science teacher Danielle Okamoto hopes “this wave flows over quickly and we could get back to normal.”
In terms of the student body, it’s pretty split.
Many students are against wearing the mask during school.
“I think it’s terrible,” said junior Grace Pitstick. “I can’t breathe.”
Senior Catherine Bach says, “What’s ten days gonna do when everyone’s still hanging out on weekends? It’s all or nothing. Either wear a mask or you don’t.”
Sophomore Jack Flournoy talked about his initial reaction to hearing about the mask mandate. “I was upset, you know, because things are finally getting back to normal.” said Flournoy. “If you don’t want to get COVID, don’t come to school.”
“You shouldn’t have to wear a mask if you are vaccinated,” said senior Liza Firaldi. “It doesn’t make sense if you’re not vaccinated. It’s pretty easy to get vaccinated.”
While there are a lot of students who are against the mask, there are still many who are for it.
Senior Monica Hernandez said, “I kind of like it. It’s comfortable. It stops the spread.”
Senior Alyssa Clayton says, “Honestly, I’ve been wearing the mask the whole time. Because you know you can get COVID even if you’re vaccinated.” She continues with saying that even if you are vaccinated, you should still quarantine.
Clayton says, “I think it’s extreme to not quarantine at all. If you don’t want to quarantine the whole ten days, at least do five. It’s just extreme to not do any [days].”