AISD keeps mask mandate for schools

Lilly Griffiths, Features Editor

On Friday, July 3, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott implemented the first state-wide mask mandate. On March 10 of 2021, Abbott lifted the mask-mandate state-wide. As a result of this, AISD has decided to still require mask-wearing district-wide in order to keep its students and staff safe. 

Many teachers said they agree that this is the best thing to do to consider the safety of everyone in the building. 

I hate wearing a mask,” Advanced English 2 teacher Kathleen Blanchard said. “It’s super uncomfortable, but our building, and others, remain filled by largely unvaccinated populations. Teachers are just now starting to get any kind of priority on getting the shot, and many of our high school students are not yet on the list. Until we have more people vaccinated, I think wearing a mask is a small thing to ask.”    

With the consideration of others, there comes a big responsibility that everyone is willing to do their part. Things such as not wearing your mask fully or at all are worrisome.

“I am still seeing people wear (their masks)  below their noses,” Earth and Space Science teacher Amy Dragon said. “I mean, at this point, how do we not know that renders it ineffective? It’s basic biology.” 

Most worries about getting Covid are rooted in the simple task of wearing a mask wrong.

“Not wearing a mask makes other people uneasy and fearful and the whole point of life is to be kind to other people, so why not just wear it, even if you are vaccinated?” Dragon said. “Why would you want another person to feel afraid or uneasy?”

As well as wearing your mask, keep in mind that there still are limitations in what you can or cannot do because of Covid. 

“I am hoping that students follow all guidelines, mask-wearing and otherwise, until the end of the year,” Blanchard said. “Until we have better proof of the virus ending, I just don’t think it’s worth the risk.”

Many struggles have also found their way to the forefront from mask-wearing and online school as a result of the pandemic.

“I always do better when I can see someone talk, and many of the kids are soft-spoken, which is not helped by the mask,” Blanchard said. “I do try hard to speak up and annunciate as best I can when I’m on Zoom in my mask, but I’m sure it still causes some confusion.”

As well as masks affecting the quality of class, they can also distract those who are wearing them adding to that negative impact. 

“Wearing masks for long durations of time makes my glasses fog up and sometimes it can even make my face itch,” Dragon said. 

With all of these pros and cons of continuing to wear masks, all teachers have one wish – to go back to normal next year. 

“I hope we are back to normal as far as being in the classroom goes,” Blanchard said. “I miss the interaction with the students. I do hope, though, that we will truly take into account what we’ve learned this year about education and schooling and use it to make positive changes.”