Our First Maskless Month Since 2020



As the mask mandate was suddenly lifted statewide on Sunday, February 27th, we all received an email announcing that masking would now be optional in school. For many students, this was an extremely sudden but pleasant surprise, yet others loathed this news. Regardless of the nature of your reaction, this news arguably struck everyone by surprise. 


For the past two years, we’ve worn masks virtually everywhere, school being one of the most prominent and strict enforcers of masking. The thought of walking into school in the morning, maskless, seemed completely alien to most Harriton students and staff, as we had become so accustomed to the new norm. Let’s see how some Harriton students and staff thought these past couple of weeks went. 


Many students were ecstatic to hear this news, and were excited to see and interact with their friends without the awkward barrier of masks shielding everyone’s face. Many teachers felt the same, as they were eager to truly see their student’s faces, and return to how things were two long years ago. But, this was certainly not the case for everyone. 


Many students are still actively nervous and cautious about COVID-19, and were simply not ready for this change. Additionally, some teachers feel extremely uncomfortable being in a room with sometimes over twenty maskless students who could be carrying the virus unknowingly. Public opinion on this topic is certainly divided, and in order to gain insight from all perspectives, I interviewed multiple teachers and students and asked them two questions to hear their thoughts on this change and how they have dealt with it.


“Have you decided to remain masked or take it off?”

Student #1- “For the first couple of days I was nervous, so I kept my mask on, but after seeing some of my friends with it off, I took mine off by the end of the week.”


Student #2- “I plan on keeping my mask on, for sure.”


Teacher #1- “After two long years, I was very happy to teach maskless.”


How are you feeling after a full school week, maskless?


Student #1- “It feels like everything is back to normal from two years ago, and I have been loving it!”


Student #2- “It has been a stressful week and I feel like a lot of people are not being cautious enough.”


Teacher #1- “I think the weeks have gone well so far, but there is sometimes an awkward barrier between students with and without masks. Regardless, I support all of my students’ decisions, I just wish they could support one another’s a bit more.”


Barring the divide that has been created between the masked and unmasked, the past month with masks has gone fairly well for Harriton, and COVID-19 cases have seemed to plummet overall. I am hopeful we can continue this trend, and that we can all grow comfortable regardless of our masking choice in this new school environment.