On August 6, 2021, Superintendent Dr. Curtis Wright, addressed Red Devil families in a letter stating that masks would be required indoors for all students, staff, and visitors starting on August 9. This decision was made given a recent update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stating new guidelines to be put in schools, given new evidence about the Delta variant of COVID-19. Students have mixed feelings about the mask mandate.
“I’m honestly okay with [wearing masks],” freshman Rhys Edwards said. “I know that it is keeping people safe.”
Throughout the pandemic, schools all over the country have acted under the guidance received from the CDC, Indiana Department of Health (IDOH), the Wayne County Health Department (WCHD), and other health professionals dedicated to maximizing health and safety for the public. Not all local school districts have gone the same route as Richmond Community Schools, however.
“Masks have been proven to make it safer for everyone,” sophomore Mary Jetmore said. “I really hope I’m protecting people because that’s why I’m wearing them.”
According to the Palladium-Item, both Centerville and Nettle Creek school districts began the year without mask mandates, but then they started requiring masks after outbreaks in the schools. Many students agree that a mask mandate will help protect students and staff from getting sick.
“Honestly I don’t mind wearing a mask, I’ve never really had a problem with it, but I know some students that have a problem with wearing them,” sophomore Ringo Aubre-Howard said. “It’s essential though. I mean we are talking about a literal virus here.”
Other students expressed disappointment about another year of wearing masks.
“I was really hoping that we wouldn’t have to wear them this year, but I understand that it is needed,” Jetmore said.
Mask mandates have been controversial around the community. Some parents have protested over their children wearing masks. At a recent board meeting, some parents and residents spoke out against wearing masks. Students are generally following the mask requirements.
“Obviously, it’s not fun to wear masks, but I think it is needed,” Aubre-Howard said. “This is dangerous, and we are talking about people’s lives. I strongly believe that we should be wearing masks, because they are protecting other people and yourself.”