No More Masks at IACS: Three Weeks In

Photo by Seth Lupo

On March 15, the mask mandate was lifted for IACS students and staff. Now, three weeks later, they provide their thoughts on the recent change. 

The general consensus from the community was that the change in policy was warranted due to the declining COVID numbers. 

Junior Dawson Catton, reflected on the change, saying, “I think with the cases coming down, sure why not?” 

Panki Baghat, another junior, joined in support of the repeal, saying “If people want to wear their masks they can wear them. If some people don’t want to wear their mask they don’t have to.” 

Others cite specific benefits to the change. English teacher Anne Ford commented on the difficulties of teaching with masks: “My biggest concern was making sure I was supporting all the students in the room who were leaving masks on, and I tried to do that verbally. And I considered doing that with masks on. However, it was harder to teach with a mask on. people don’t see my whole face and I need to project my voice more.”

Even those who decided to keep masks on appreciated the evidence based approach to the decision. Math teacher Sean Marden, who told us he plans to continue wearing a mask, applauded the school’s decision making: “I think that the school made a good choice—they followed the data that was out there. They considered the relative vaccination rates of the area and the positivity rates of the testing.”

Still, people question the possibility of a second outbreak. In such a scenario, the consensus among students is that they would endorse reinstating a mask mandate. Catton commented, “If we see them spiking again we should definitely put masks back on.”

Students also commented on how strange it was to see some people’s faces for the first time. “It was interesting to see some people that I met last year and this year that I’ve never actually seen without a mask on,” said Catton. 

Amid this change, one student noticed something peculiar. Kerry Mathews, a senior, remarked, “You know what I find ironic… the nurses put an oral hygiene poster on as soon as we took masks off.” 

Be sure to brush your teeth! 

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