Masks No Longer Required in Schools


(Graphic by Aidan Sun)

Lucia Ruiz, Features Editor

On March 12, almost two years after the emergence of COVID-19, L.A. County ended its mask mandate and allowed school operators to decide their rules for masks. 

An email from Superintendent Dr. Cherniss explained that “the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District will also align its masking policy with the state and will allow students and staff a choice when it comes to indoor and outdoor masking effective Saturday, March 12, 2022.”

Students and staff, of course, still have the option to stay masked.

“Students and staff are welcome to wear them if they feel more comfortable,” associate principal Dr. Keely Hardage said. 

“We know many students may still have an elderly grandparent that they visit or live with. We know we have students that are going through their own immunocompromised illness and things like that. By all means, we encourage any student who feels more safe to continue wearing them.”

While some students may feel safer with mask mandates in place, Hardage assures students that this decision is very thoughtful and deliberate. 

“I know [our district has] a team of medical experts,” Hardage said. 

“They’ve gotten valuable information from the medical committee as well as trusted doctors in the committee in L.A. County saying that this was the right next step.”

Students have their own thoughts on the end of the mask mandate. 

“You can have your own opinions about [masks] and you can still wear it if you want, but if you want to take it off then you can,” freshman Dom Holmes said. “I think it’s fair for everyone.”

Although students and staff are no longer required to wear masks, mandates have been very dynamic in the last few months. They are still subject to change. 

“If we have a surge again, it is very possible that we will have to wear masks after spring break,” school nurse Marissa Trevett said prior to spring break.

COVID-19 case numbers become especially elevated after holiday breaks. 

After winter break, district testing sites were overwhelmed with the highest number of positive test results that they had seen during the entire duration of the pandemic. 

Some students even speculated that they might return to online learning. 

During winter break, the United States experienced the emergence of the Omicron variant. Now, BA.2, a close relative of BA.1, which is commonly referred to as the Omicron variant, is spreading throughout the country and could potentially cause a spike, most likely less extreme than the one in January. 

From what medical experts have been reporting so far, it seems that BA.2 does not cause illness any more extreme than BA.1, the Omicron variant. 

“If you choose not to get vaccinated, wear a mask, stay away from large crowds and wash your hands.”