Lewis-Palmer remains unmasked

Lewis-Palmer+remains+unmasked

Gianna Cozzolino, Ranger Review Reporter

Walk through the halls of Lewis-Palmer and you’ll see many smiling, maskless faces. As of the beginning of the school year, there is no longer a mask mandate. While many Colorado schools require masks, many schools, like our own, leave the decision up to individuals. As well, District 38 (D38) does not require COVID vaccination from staff or students.

However, a few students choose to wear a mask, either permanently or from time to time, and D38 students are required to wear masks on public transportation, including school buses.

Nonetheless, debate regarding masking and public safety in schools still exists around the state and country.

Throughout the first six weeks of the school year, more than 2,000 staff and students in D20, El Paso’s largest school district, were quarantined. A D20 mask mandate went into effect on Monday, September 27th. Students at Rampart High School walked out in protest following the new policy.

Greeley-Evans Weld County School District 6 also has a mask mandate. According to Colorado Public Radio News, At least 78 percent of Colorado students in preschool through 12th grade now attend school under a mask mandate, including most students in 25 of the state’s 30 largest districts.” 

Harrison School District 2, Widefield District 3 and Colorado Springs School District 11 employed a mask mandate on September 7th, 2021. All individuals in the Cheyenne Mountain School District and Pueblo School District must wear masks.

As of September 29th, 17 states require masks in schools, per the Centers for Disease Control and Protection recommendations. Contrary to that, “Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Florida, South Carolina, Texas and Utah—have enacted laws or issued executive orders prohibiting school districts from requiring students to wear masks” according to The Pew Charitable Trusts.

What does Lewis-Palmer think of lifting the mask mandate?

Many students are relieved and even overjoyed. 

“I like [not wearing masks] because it allows you to be more social. Last year, nobody talked as much. I like it better this year,” Ariana Ellis 9 said.

However, many students and staff hold differing opinions. 

“To be honest, I feel pretty unsafe. A lot of people are getting sick. I’ve gotten sick a couple of times and I missed a lot of school. I feel that more people should be wearing masks, even if they aren’t sick, because it’s an unsafe environment,” Nate Zeiler 10 said.

So, are masks still necessary? Some sources think so. 

As of Monday, November 1st, hospitalization numbers were at their highest in Colorado this year. There are 900 hospital beds left in the state.

According to Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment, students ages 6 to 17 in Colorado schools with mask mandates had lower rates of Covid-19 compared to students attending unmasked schools.

But for now at least, Lewis-Palmer stays unmasked.