Going into the 2020-2021 school year, the mask policy at Prince George High School is “highly suggested and strongly recommended,” meaning that students have the option of wearing a mask without receiving any disciplinary action if they choose not to.
According to our superintendent, The American Academy of Pediatrics’ (APP) recommendation is “masks be required when the physical distance is at a minimum of three feet,” but the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendation is “wear masks in public settings and practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people).” While the AAP’s recommendation could be applied in the classroom and during lunch, it is flawed during class changes.
The CDC states, “masks are a critical preventive measure and are most essential in times when social distancing is difficult.”
Even though we have new hallway patterns, students are given extra time to get to class, and teachers are supposed to stagger students as they leave the classroom, during this time the halls are always crowded and not socially distanced. This has been a major concern for students and staff, because this crowding heightens the risk for COVID-19 transmission, especially if wearing a mask is an option.
Our community knew the risks of sending our children back to school, and are thankful for the endless hours our officials have put into to try and ensure the safest route of instruction for our in-person students, but with COVID-19 cases increasing in our country and within our school buildings, having a mandated mask policy is a preventative measure that can provide more benefit to our student body than harm.