ERHS Becomes Mask Optional, Remains Mask Positive


Gerardo Solis

In Dr.Grant’s first period class, some students are wearing their masks and others are not.

The Prince George’s County Public School’s mask-optional policy was announced on September 6, by CEO Monica Goldson. This action was taken due to the significant decrease in Covid cases. As a result, students get to choose if they want to wear a mask to school or not. At Eleanor Roosevelt High School, many students and teachers remain mask positive. Though, there are a handful of students and teachers that are happy to go to school without a mask.

Zaida Martinez, a senior at Roosevelt who still wears a mask states that “[her] health remains one of [her] first priorities”. Though it’s optional now, Martinez is still “okay with wearing a facemask” since it protects her and allows her to feel safer at school. Her reasoning for wearing a mask is due to the safety and health precautions that she wants to take. Regarding the impacts of this policy, she feels like “if there is no evidence of Covid-19 cases significantly decreasing within at least 2-3 more years, then it would mean that the optional policy does not help”. She thinks it’s important to see a significant decrease in the number of cases before taking off her mask. 

Addison Mitchell, a senior at Eleanor Roosevelt, spoke on how she “enjoyed not really being sick at all last school year.” So Mitchell continues to wear one so she doesn’t contract any “sickness, whether it’s covid or a cold.” Along with health concerns, students had gotten used to having their faces hidden behind a mask. Mitchell adds that she had gone maskless for a day on accident and with it came an “uncomfortable” feeling since she is “an expressive person” causing her to feel “very exposed” throughout the day.

Though masks offer protection from Covid-19 and make students and faculty feel safer, some students feel that there are benefits to not wearing a mask during school. Junior Kacie Bailey believes that not wearing a mask “allows people to express themselves [and their emotions] more.” By being more expressive, they can communicate and connect more effectively with their peers and teachers. Still, most students have gotten used to wearing their masks and continue to do so. Bailey, who occasionally wears a mask, explains that she feels like the majority of students are still mask-positive because they are wearing their mask as a way to “shield their faces [rather] than for protection from Covid.”

The mask-optional policy marks the beginning of Eleanor Roosevelt High Schools’ return to normalcy. As the year goes on more students and faculty may stay mask-positive while others may go maskless. Regardless, students and faculty should stay respectful of each other’s choices to wear or not to wear masks.