Mask Mandates—Where Does State High Stand?


Alice Woodman

A photo of a State High hallway, featuring a poster that outlines COVID safety guidelines.

Alice Woodman, Staff Writer

On Mar. 16, 2022, Superintendent Bob O’Donnell sent an email out to students, parents, and families of SCASD, announcing that mask mandates were set to be lifted on Mar. 21, 2022. The lifting of the mask mandate at State High has left many wondering if after two years of having to wear masks due to COVID-19, is it really safe to come back into schools mask-free?

In his email to SCASD members, O’Donnell said the following: 

“After meeting with our Health and Safety Team yesterday, we have decided to move to optional masking in schools and on district transportation beginning March 21, a week earlier than originally planned. We feel it’s safe to make this shift on Monday because Centre County’s COVID-19 community is now low and conditions have continued to improve since the end of January.”

As of right now, listed under the Health and Safety Plan 2021-2022 masking is optional for all, and no physical distancing is required (specifically towards secondary school levels in SCASD). 

However, as stated in a recent email sent by O’Donnell on May 9, 2022, if cases go up in Centre County, masks may have to go back on per the CDC’s guidelines.

Students have been ditching the masks we’ve been wearing these past few weeks to breathe out in the open finally, so how did students take this sudden decision?

“At first I was really nervous to take off my mask, but now I feel comfortable without it. Though I do have to admit it is still weird,” sophomore Emma Shunk said. 

Sophomore Ben Cook is among others who would agree with Shunk about being comfortable without masks.

“I’m fairly impartial to it, to be honest,” Cook said. “I found it perfectly reasonable when it was announced of course, and it feels nice to finally be rid of them. I’m not someone who is heavily impacted by mask-wearing, so I wouldn’t be up in arms if they reimposed it.” 

While many have stopped masking, those who continue to wear masks shared their reasons for doing so.

“I wish to protect my family and myself,” sophomore Grace Yabiku shared. 

With the 2021-2022 school year soon coming to a close, students have been left to wonder—what will the situation for masks be this fall?