Optional Masks: Student and Teacher Views

The mask mandate in Azle has been dropped and the opinions in the school are seemingly split.

The validity of the pandemic has been questioned since the first wave in early 2020.

“I think it’s real, but I think it’s blown out of proportion,” sophomore Christiana Pitts said. “Especially at the beginning where someone was in a fatal wreck and they [officials] were like, ’It’s COVID!’”

Discussion of whether or not the mandate should have been dropped has been a widely debated topic ever since last Thursday.

“I think it [the decision] was premature,” an anonymous junior said. “I think they should have waited all year, or at least until everyone was vaccinated.”

Over the course of the pandemic, the respect of different opinions has diminished, making it hard for anyone to express their beliefs without critical commentary.

“I believe that the respect factor is definitely missing,” junior Kora Clark said. “I feel like there is so much disrespect on both sides. It’s a choice to wear a mask at this point in time, and people must understand that others are going to take that choice seriously and not wear one.”

Some say the opinions of staff and students at the school weren’t looked into as much as they should have been, and the decision was made without those views in consideration.

“Our opinion was not asked, we were not surveyed or queried in any shape or form,” an anonymous teacher said. “We now know what the district thinks of our opinion, our labor, and our health.”

Even then, opinions of the vote to drop the mandate are still expressed throughout the school.

“I believe the pandemic is still real, people get sick from it, people die from it,” senior Griffin Schroeder said. “However, I am a senior and the senior class probably doesn’t care about maskers vs. non-maskers as much as underclassmen.”

The progress that was made before the mandate dropped could have been considered before the decision was made, according to one anonymous teacher.

“I feel like it’s a lot to ask people to wear a mask, but at the same time, we’ve come so far and spent so much money, time, and effort, and we still have cases, yet we’re just going to drop the mandate?” The anonymous teacher said. “That’s like preparing for the EOC (End of Course Exam) and not even administering it.”