Masking at Monomoy: Improving or declining?

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Alex Friess, Contributing Writer

It has almost been three years since the start of Covid-19. It seems like this is the new normal. I know a lot of people have gotten accustomed to wearing a mask all day. But some people haven’t; in fact, some kids at our school don’t wear masks at all.

I wrote an article in the beginning of the year about masking at our school and I wanted to see if it has gotten any better. 

When I look around the classroom around me I already see five kids with masks off or not covering their noses. There is a significant number of students and teachers missing each day. Eight kids and the teacher in my civics class are out and that’s just today. 

It’s not out of the ordinary to hear students being repeatedly told to put their masks up all the time. 

I interviewed multiple teachers and students from different grade levels and here is what they had to say.

Ella Griffin, a seventh grader at the Middle school believes that there are more Covid cases than at the start of the year. She said, “I do not think that a lot of people are wearing masks and teachers always have to remind kids to put their mask up and most of the time the kids give a hard time to the teachers about it. It actually aggravates me because at least everyone has someone in their life that if they get Covid, it could be very life threatening to them.”

Mr. Sullivan, a 7th grade teacher at Monomoy Middle school had this to say when asked if he thought there was going to be an end to mask wearing, “I am not an infectious disease expert by any means, however I believe that once a vaccine is available to everyone who wants one, we will not have to wear masks anymore. Vaccines are our one and only weapon in this pandemic and once everyone is eligible for one, I think we will be able to move on. But until that time comes, I’m not sure if we will be able to take off the masks.

When asked if there was anything that could be done to make people feel more comfortable, Mr. Sullivan said, “I wish people would think about each other a bit more and not just about themselves. When people refuse to wear a mask properly, or if they are overtly disrespectful to the health and safety of those around them, it is upsetting. We wear masks to protect ourselves, yes, but we also wear the mask to protect one another, particularly individuals who are not able to be vaccinated. I think if we all thought about mask wearing in that way, it would be more effective.” He has a one-year-old daughter at home who can not get vaccinated, and he is not the only person in a similar situation. Please be courteous and wear your mask properly. 

Ms. Goyette, a 9th and 11th grade teacher, also said that she would feel more comfortable if more staff took part in pool testing like the students. I agree. If a student gets it, they are around a few people and it is easy to see who is a close contact but teachers are a different story. They walk around the room and have at least five classes every day.

Ella, who was mentioned earlier, said, “I think a way to stop the spread of Covid is if kids start to wear their masks right like when they are in the hall or in class, and when a teacher tells them to put their mask up they will do it right away and don’t give back talk to their teachers when they ask.”  

I agree we need to do a better job of keeping our masks up and over our noses. People have families at home that can’t afford to get sick with Covid. So people be considerate to people if not for yourself then for others. 

But there is hope. Ms. Police said that “I think we could move to a ‘mask optional’ policy if there is evidence that the positivity rate is near zero.”