To Mask Or Not To Mask

Dylan Sargent, Writer

 After the Archdiocese of Chicago announced a change in their mask mandate on February 8, catholic schools covering much of Chicago now are able to go mask-optional. 

Greg Richmond, the archdiocese’s superintendent, stated in an article from CNA that “nearly half of the schools are reporting no cases at all.” Because of the drastic drop in COVID cases, they proceeded with the mask optional policy that took effect on February 10. 

Our very own Loyola Academy decided to go mask-optional not long after that. At first, on February 6, principal Charlie Heintz reinforced that the mask mandate would not change on campus. Students did not think much of it, but when word got around that the Archdiocese had lifted the mandate, the community couldn’t help but wonder what would happen next.

After days of asking teachers what they knew about the situation, the email was finally sent. Loyola was mask-optional, beginning on February 10. At first glance, this may be seen as an incredible thing. You, too, may even be thinking, “Wow, finally.” However, this decision was very mixed among the people of Loyola.

Now, there weren’t any riots or protests that had bloomed in the middle of Flex. Many concerns were raised, however. “No one wants to live in this COVID world anymore, obviously, but we have to consider the elderly and the sick,” an anonymous senior says. 

She adds that “many people have sick parents and grandparents that they live with and we can’t just ignore it. Everyone wants to get back to normal, but it’s hard to do that.”

On the other hand, many think that communities have to move on at some point. Some are just happy to feel normal again. Elated to be a step closer to normalcy, Ellie Kracik ‘22 says, “I was really shocked about the sudden change, but I’m glad things are going back to how they used to be.”

Many students have also pointed out that Loyola is one lucky community to be able to have this mandate lifted. After the surge of Omicron in December, many states and districts are still recovering. 

Loyola reinforces to their students that everyone should respect everyone’s decisions, no matter what they might be. Everybody has their reasons for masking up or not masking at all, and the whole community will have to understand this. Practice kindness, practice tolerance, and practice peace.