By Divine Hanna
February 28 marked a massive turning point in the mask mandates of California schools. Effective last Monday, wearing a mask outdoors on campus became optional. Although it is still mandatory to wear a mask indoors, this change has spiked much conversation amongst our students and staff, as well as parents and members of the community.
L.A. County officials also lifted the indoor mask mandate on Friday March 4 except in certains settings. Schools will no longer necessarily require indoor masks after Friday March 11. However, Granada Hills Charter (GHC) administration released a statement that GHC will continue requiring masks indoors as they monitor the data.
Administration has continually taken precautions to protect those on our campus. From making it a requirement to be vaccinated in order to attend school, to bi-weekly COVID-19 testing, the school has handled the situation we currently live in very stringently.
While it is too early to see if COVID-19 cases are increasing due to the relaxed masking, there have been mixed emotions from both students and staff on campus as a result of this updated protocol.
“I love the new mask mandate. I feel like life is finally getting back to normal,” junior Jayden Lopez said.
This response was one of the most popular amongst the student community. A large number of students have decided not to wear masks outdoors, celebrating the new-normal. The fact that things are slowly returning to how it was prior to the major shut-down of March 13, 2020 has uplifted many students and staff’s spirits.
Although masks offer increased safety, they also create barriers such as muffled speaking to hindering one’s ability to determine people’s facial expressions.
On the other hand, some students and staff have decided to continue wearing their masks outdoors, regardless of the new mandate. The virus is still spreading, and masks will continue to serve the sole purpose of protection during the virus.
Many find themselves questioning if it is worth the discomfort to wear them in crowded outdoor environments, especially now that it is no longer required.
Masks (specifically KN95, N95, or surgical quality) have been proven efficient in preventing the spread of COVID-19 at a 70 percent reduced risk. Although they do not guarantee full protection, masks are still highly effective.
It is fully up to you if you want to wear your mask outdoors, but if you are unsure, reflect on your current situation. Consider factors that will affect you or your loved ones, such as if you or someone you live with have compromised immunity.