**DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT EXPRESS THE VIEWS OF THE AUTHOR AND STAFF MEMBERS OF “THE SNAPPER”**
Throughout 2021, the mask policy at Key West High School (KWHS) has changed drastically over the COVID-19 year. Starting as wearing them full time, then students wavering the facial guards with parent consent, and now a choice for students and teachers.
In an anonymous survey run by Google Forms, 85% of KWHS students said that a majority of the high school do not wear a mask anymore. “…most people are vaccinated or simply aren’t concerned about the virus, and I don’t believe masks should be forced [upon] anyone,” explained an anonymous KWHS student from the survey. Likewise, Monaya Carey, a sophomore at KWHS, said that “it’s beneficial to only people who are sick, unvaccinated, or anyone who has a health problem.”
Although the majority of the student body does not wear a mask anymore, the minority of the mask dilemma don’t agree with how the majority thinks. “Covid is still a thing, and I feel like everyone’s trying to get back to their previous lives too quickly,” stated another anonymous student. For the minority wearing a mask, some fears in the survey of not wearing one were spreading the virus, going back to virtual school, catching Covid, and exposure to the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.
As attempted by president Joe Biden, mandating the vaccine is unconstitutional in America and can only be chosen by an individual if they pursue it or not. Nevertheless, a mask requirement is still an option for businesses, events, and our topic of discussion, schools. “Think about the people they have at home, whether it be immune-compromised, elderly, or anyone else,” disclosed another anonymous KWHS student. “[People would hopefully] want to keep them healthy, and right now getting the vaccine and wearing masks is the best way to do so.” From another perspective, the survey states that 50% of KWHS students said that masks should not be required in school.
Earlier this year, the terms “anti-vaxxers” and “no-maskers” were tied into the Republican political party beliefs. However, with the majority of the KWHS student body not wearing a mask, does politics still come into play? “I think that now it’s not mandatory anymore it is more of a political standpoint than it was before,” explained another KWHS student. “…there are some [people] who wear them without a solid reason to, or because others are.” Although, others with or without a political preference say that it is purely for health purposes; regarding themselves and their loved ones.
With the help of the KWHS’s police officers, the students feel safe with the violent aspects of life, but what about health-wise? “I feel very safe without a mask because that way you can visually see who looks sick or unwell,” stated a KWHS student. Likewise, another anonymous student said that they “still take precautions [and] don’t share drinks, food, or school supplies [for the most part while maintaining to wash their hands].
If you or someone you know would like to read more about COVID-19, masks, or the vaccine, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.