Mask mandate comes to an end at LOHS

Mark Williams, Editor-in-Chief

The Lake Oswego School District went mask-optional on Mar. 12. This came after Oregon ended its state-wide mandate on masks earlier this year. As of Monday, students and teachers are no longer required to wear masks in hallways, cafeterias and classrooms. The district also stated that N95 and KN95 masks will be made available to students and teachers upon request as well as requiring that volunteers will be fully vaccinated.

Reaching the two year mark of the start of the pandemic with vaccines having been available for over a year, case numbers have dropped and the CDC estimated 73 percent of Americans are immune to Omicron as of late February. 

A survey of 154 LOHS students, revealed that many were split about their decisions with the mandate. 46 percent claimed they would continue to wear a mask, 30 percent responded that they would not and 24 percent were unsure. 

“I am so grateful we won’t have to be wearing a mask all the time. I miss seeing my peers and teachers’ faces,” said Freshman Tim Marks. “It is much easier to hear the instructor without them wearing a mask. I love seeing the smiles on my fellow classmates and teachers make things feel less dull and boring as I can finally get out of this pandemic and get a great high school experience.”

While many people are ready to get rid of masks, they are still a comfort to many. Sophomore MieSo Kim is one of many students against eliminating the mask mandate. “Although this may be a sign that things are getting better, I also feel like removing restrictions so abruptly will end up causing more issues in the long run,” she said. “Yes, it might be estimated that cases will lower soon, but it just doesn’t feel safe to take drastic measures like this before knowing for sure.”

One of the biggest concerns students seem to have about their decision is how they will be judged for it. A majority of students answered that they feel that they will either be slightly or definitively judged by their teachers and peers.

While only 30 percent of students say they will definitely drop their masks, the average opinion on de-masking is close to even. On a scale of 1 to 10, one being negative and 10 being positive, on how they would feel about an ending mask mandate the average student responded with about a 5.6, demonstrating a slightly positive response to an ending mandate.