Facial (un)coverings


Courtesy of wikipedia.com

CHOICES: Considering that many public places in this area are now making the wearing of masks optional, I think that it is obviously a personal choice as to wearing one.

Danjel Saint-Fleur, Staff Writer

According to an email sent out by Superintendent Fenoy, he is exercising his authority, “as outlined in the Covid-19 Student Policy” and declares that facial coverings will be optional when students return to school on August 10, 2021.

“COVID-19 safety measures,” said Superintendent Fennoy, “such as enhanced cleaning and sanitization, the usage of MERV-13 filters for HVAC systems, social distancing when possible, and other health protocols will remain in place as will policies for employees and visitors.”

He also said that if health conditions decrease he will bring back facial coverings. “I cannot overstate that the health and safety of our students and staff is the School Board’s top priority, and will always guide our decision-making.” 

Kern St Jean, a Sophomore in the Medical Academy, said he disagrees with that notion since it may “allow Covid to spread easier throughout the school.”

“I’m fine with it,” said Linda Morales, a Sophomore in the Medical Academy. “It doesn’t bother me to wear masks but my preference is not to wear them since we live and Florida and it gets hot outside, and I don’t want to sweat.”

Aliana Gray, a Freshman in Pre-Med, said that she doesn’t think masks should be necessary next school year because “the rates are going down. Not like kids really wear their masks over their noses at school anyway, so what’s the point in keeping masks here thinking it’s helping them when really nobody is using them.”

“I think that people should still wear their masks even if they already got vaccinated,” said Danna Lopez Almendarez, a Freshman in Pre-Med. “We should wait until everyone in the entireeee world has gotten the vaccine so we won’t have to suffer anymore.”

Inlet’s nursing instructor Rajani Rigaud said that masks should not be optional due to the fact that there are “several strains of the virus and people are still at risk of contracting COVID-19. I believe that the government should still mandate the wearing of masks because people will become lax and not take the prevention of transmission as a priority anymore.”

She said she thinks that the message that ‘masks are not mandatory’ is wrong. “The wrong messages are that we can put our guards down and that the virus has been eradicated, which is not the case at all.”

Ms. Rigaud said that masks should be optional when the number of new cases of COVID 19 infections has become insignificant.

Pre-Medical teacher Nancy Mackey said politicians scoffing at the idea of a pandemic and going maskless sent a “huge message to their constituents who supported that thinking.” 

“As a country,” said Robert Ghassemi, Pre-Medical teacher, “it is up to an individual’s level of responsibility and understanding that wearing a mask reduces the transmission of the virus more than not wearing it.”

“Considering that many public places in this area are now making the wearing of masks optional,” said Dr. Mackey, “I think that it is obviously a personal choice as to wearing one. Recently the CDC recommended that anyone who is fully vaccinated (2 weeks after the last vaccination was given) should be allowed to go maskless and the NY Times recently published an informative COVID guide.”

Dr. Ghassemi said encourages people to get their vaccines and wear masks. “Vaccines and masks should not be viewed as a substitutionary concept.”

Dr. Ghassemi also said that we all should learn more about the vaccine and how it works. “It is the fundamental concept of any preventive disease.”

Dr. Mackey said she acknowledges that there are those who have ignored wearing masks even at the height of the pandemic. “I consider that to be a selfish act as they appear to have no consideration for others, including family members, and perhaps are ignorant to the fact that they can contract or transmit the virus.” 

While Ms. Rigaud said she does not think vaccinations are a reason to get rid of masks and social distancing, she does think everyone should get vaccinated as vaccinations are a proven way to eradicate disease, by building the population’s immunity against disease-causing organisms.

“With only a few weeks remaining,” said Dr. Mackey, “I support students wearing masks for the remainder of the school year. Of note is the increase in COVID cases amongst the school-age population.”

Even though Dr. Mackey is “fully vaccinated,” she is still cautious. “As a healthcare professional, I have read the research and support the available science as to being vaccinated. Again, being vaccinated is a personal choice but I do believe that we have a responsibility to ourselves, our families, and our community.”