The question of whether or not students should wear masks to school has sparked heated debate. (Photo illustration by Sandra Genidy)

Coronavirus Coverage

Opinion: Students should wear their masks at school

Wearing a mask indoors is necessary to the health and safety of everyone on campus.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/jonnathannn/" target="_self">Jonathan Tran</a>

Jonathan Tran

January 12, 2022

The arrival of COVID-19 has brought undeniable and unprecedented changes to the Fountain Valley community and the world as a whole. These changes have included social distancing and the use of masks while out in public.

With COVID-19 forcing the world under lockdown and the government implementing restrictions in order to reduce the spread, life in masks has become a shared experience among everyone.

In order to be mindful of others and ourselves, masks should, without doubt, be worn around the school. Wearing masks gives everyone the ability to be able to do something to help reduce contact with others and reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 for everyone.

This is especially the case inside school buildings and classrooms where close contact and the potential of the spread of COVID-19 is extremely high.

In the past decade, ventilation has been a serious problem at Fountain Valley High School. Its effects are quite serious such as when there were gas odors which led students to have headaches and vision problems.

Thus, we should be extra cautious when in classrooms or in school buildings. Past experiences have shown how easily something can spread in a classroom.

This is the importance of always wearing a mask inside. It is absolutely necessary and should be worn at all times in classes and buildings.

“If you are infected with the coronavirus and do not know it, a mask is very good at keeping your respiratory droplets and particles from infecting others. If you haven’t yet received your COVID-19 vaccine, wearing a mask can also help prevent germs that come from another person’s respiratory droplets from getting into your nose and mouth,” Lisa Maragakis, M.D., M.P.H. said in a John Hopkins Medicine article.

Another note is that as a part of the Baron family and Barons for Life, we should take each other’s well-being into consideration and look out for each other’s safety. At the end of the day, our primary goal should be to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for our fellow Barons and do what we can while we are at school. Part of this is simply wearing masks and being aware of our surroundings.

Nonetheless, as a school, we are doing incredibly well at keeping COVID at bay. Our COVID statistics are very low as of September 29 with only four students out of a population of 3,771 students and staff affected by COVID in the previous two weeks. All we need to do is to just keep continuing on this path.

While critics may say that the right to wear masks should still be based upon individual choice rather than on government mandates, personal preferences need to take a backseat to others’ safety.

There is partial truth to the students who may feel the need for mask breaks or feel that masks constrict them in socializing or breathing.

However, above all, the safety of the Baron community should be our primary concern. Even so, there are a few occasions where not having a mask on is okay.

The circumstances or situations where it may okay to not wear masks at school include:

  1. When you are uncomfortable in your mask and not near or in the proximity of anyone. Use your reasonable judgment when deciding if you are far away enough.
  2. Eating lunch and snacks with friends. Have you ever forgotten to take your mask off or tried eating with your mask on? It does not work and reasonably masks need to be taken off to eat.
  3. Exercising or playing a sport. It is hard to breathe through a mask and most people can affirm that. Understandably, masks could and should probably be taken off during these times.
  4. Identification or taking a photo. This is not necessary, but photos and identifications are much more meaningful this way and seeing someone’s face in its entirety is always a breath of fresh air.

In these cases, taking off masks for a brief second to breathe is understandable. However, you should try not to leave the mask off for an extended period of time as we do not want to increase the risk of ourselves and others around us catching COVID-19.

Again, safety is our number one priority and we do not want to be the cause of other students catching the virus.

Masks should still be worn for the majority of the time in school to reduce the risk for everyone.

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