Student opinions differ on lifting of school mask mandate


Elyssa Kennedy

Today the school mask mandate was lifted. Here’s what students have to say about it.

After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of its hallmark restrictions are being lifted, including masks: the Mountain View–Los Altos School District removes its requirement for indoor masking for all schools in the District beginning this Tuesday, March 15. However, student opinion is mixed on the decision.

“I think it’s just not the right time to be lifting mask mandates,” senior Omar Acosta said. “I think there would be a situation where there would be a rise in cases.”

In a non-scientific Instagram poll of 445 respondents conducted by The Talon, 73 percent said that they would not take their mask off after the school mandate is lifted. Many students are concerned about COVID-19 safety.

“Eventually, we need to ease off of mask mandates, but as of right now, considering the recent appearance of Omicron and potential for secondary outbreaks, I think it’s important that we continue with some kind of security,” junior Trevan Cui said. “Lifting the mask mandate isn’t a wise choice.”

Some, however, are looking forward to unmasking on campus, citing improving COVID-19 statistics.

“I understand why [the mask mandate] was in place when COVID was higher, but now that it’s in recession, at a certain point, we have to say it’s doing more harm than good,” junior Joseph Falkenburg said.

According to the County, the seven-day average of new cases has fallen to 232, down from a peak of over 5,000 cases at the beginning of the year. Some students believe that, now that cases have fallen, mask mandates should fall too.

“COVID cases have gone down, and the entire rest of the country has lifted all mandates,” freshman David Feldman said. “I feel like it’s time for Los Altos High School and Santa Clara County to do the same.”

Others contend that it’s safe enough to give students the latitude to decide.

“Most people in the county have been vaccinated, and it gives people the freedom as to whether or not they want to wear a mask,” junior Rafael Arce said. “For people who still want to wear a mask, they still have the option to do it, so I think it’s good.”

Despite the drop in cases and excitement for a new normal, some still lack confidence.

“I don’t think it’ll last,” junior Stuart Cash said. “I think it’ll be fun for the first week, and then we’re going to go back to masks.”

Ryan Bell and Andrew RiosSandoval contributed to the reporting on this story