Opinion: Should the School Consider Losing Masks After Winter Break?


By Katelin Chong, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Since the return of in-person school, masks have been a controversial topic. For me, though, wearing a face-covering goes without question. Although many are tired of having to put one on every morning before entering the building, I believe doing this is essential to keep everyone safe.

Personally, the thought of coming to school without a mask makes me extremely uncomfortable. Living with someone who is at high risk of getting COVID has made me all the more cautious when going to leave my home, and I honestly cannot imagine walking out of the house without a mask on anytime soon. While vaccinations have certainly helped to tame some of the panic surrounding the pandemic, we still have to be realistic — a pandemic does not disappear after getting a vaccine, especially when people in the hallway are unaware of how to wear a mask the right way.

After looking over the Village of Skokie COVID-19 Dashboard, it is clear the number of cases in Skokie has not seen a complete halt — keep in mind, this is for Skokie alone. Students and staff at West are from a variety of towns surrounding the district, not to mention that some high school kids are bound to jump around from place to place after school ends. Having students walking around a building without masks with such conditions in the middle of a pandemic is unwise and unsafe, endangering not only the students and staff but their families as well.

With Christmas and New Year’s growing closer, people are more likely to hold bigger events with more people. Returning to school without masks after such events seems unrealistic, and personally, I encourage people to wear their masks even more frequently after winter break. Letting our guard down now will practically undo all the progress we have made since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, something we cannot afford to do if people want to stay in person.

Being able to see my friends and teachers every single day is a privilege I took for granted. Although e-learning had its perks, I think it would be extremely inconvenient for us to return to it. Not only do I want to enjoy my senior year physically in school, but I cannot imagine having to adjust to my teachers’ online styles of learning again. In order to avoid having to stare at a Zoom screen for an entire day, it is imperative that students and staff continue to wear their masks after winter break.

So no, we should not consider losing masks after winter break. The pandemic is still young, and if we ever want to return to our “normal” lives, we must be a little more patient and understanding and keep our masks on.