Student observations from the first week of mask optional


Abigail Culcasi

As of Feb 28. students have had the option to wear a mask while in school.

On Monday Feb. 28, 2022, District 99 moved to “mask optional” following an Illinois Supreme Court judges’ decision to deny Governor Pritzker’s appeal following a restraining order to the governor’s mask mandate. As a result all students and faculty members have had the option to choose whether or not to wear a mask while in school and during after school activities. Consequently, many students have had differing feelings and observations following this change.

For senior Luke Bowers, the change in the rules has been upsetting. He feels students need to look out for each other’s safety as he believes the pandemic is still an issue.

“Honestly it makes me very mad that people don’t wear masks in the school despite the fact that there is still a pandemic going on and it is still an issue. I think people should understand that and respect the safety of others,” Bowers said.

For others including freshman Ryan Statino, walking into school Monday felt like walking into an entirely different school.

“It was weird as a freshman going without masks for the first time because you see everyone without their masks, it felt almost like the first day of school because you actually finally see what everyone looks like. It just wasn’t what you expected for some people, but it really did feel like the first day of a new school,” Statino said.

Sophomore Layla Orasco shared similar observations to Statino from the first week of the district being mask optional.

“At first it was strange because I’m not used to seeing people without their masks on,” Orasco said.

She also observed how teachers have changed how they enforced rules.

“Teachers have become a lot more lenient about things like eating in class so there’s that aspect,” Orasco said.

According to senior Emma Lopez, students’ behavior in terms of mask wearing differs from the environment they are in. She mentioned her observations of student mask wearing in the hallway versus in the classroom.

“I have noticed that it seems the majority have decided not to wear masks in the hallways, but I’ve seen a bunch of people still wearing masks in our classrooms,” Lopez said.

In addition to this, Lopez is glad that students are now able to voice their own opinions on mask wearing at school.

“I’m glad to see people doing what they want to do and making their own decisions… I’m glad students are able to voice their own opinions,” Lopez said.