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The New Mask Mandate

by O’Ryan Nelson

Staff Writer

As COVID continues to run rampant across the world, students ask what they can do to stay safe and prevent the spread, and the district has answers. With the increased cases being a major issue within the California school system, older measurements against the virus are no longer viable. Although many students remain infection free, some had to go through the unenjoyable experience of quarantine.

“The process was very isolating and difficult to go through for 2 weeks,” said junior Julian Encinas. Students like Encinas are losing very important class time and student to student interaction due to the rapid spread of COVID.

Although the spread is unfortunate, and many staff and students are contracting COVID, extra safety measures are being implemented by the district to keep everyone on campus safe. As of the start of the 2nd semester, the district has approved the newest mask policies on campus. Only surgical, N95, and K94 masks are permitted , and if you wear a cloth mask, a surgical mask is required underneath said mask. The new policy has made some students question the validity of the mandate, with others believing that it is working towards a safer campus.

“Double masking is uncomfortable, so I decided to only wear surgical masks. I wish there was a more comfortable way to stay safer,” said junior Moises Liberato. Discomfort is an unfortunate, and very relevant side effect of the new policy, as some have found it better with only cloth masks. Despite the nature of double masking and surgical masks, it is one of the best ways to actively prevent catching the virus.

Recently the San Diego Unified School District changed their policy regarding the wearing of masks outdoors. In a letter to families and school employees, the district announced, "Students, staff, and any other individuals on school grounds and district central office sites will no longer be required to wear masks outdoors, effective Feb. 16, 2022. Even with this change in policy, the District continues to encourage all individuals to wear masks outdoors when the risk of transmission is high and/or distancing is not possible."

As the community continues to deal with and get used to these times, methods for safety must evolve past cloth masks, bandanas, and only 2 vaccinations. In order to work towards a future where precautions like indoor mask mandates and gathering restrictions aren’t necessary, everyone must take all the safety measures possible during these unprecedented times.

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