Possible connection exists between removal of mask mandate, student sicknesses


With the removal of the mask mandate, schools around the country, including Parkdale, are seeing an increase in sicknesses. (photo courtesy of The New York Times)

Since the start of the cold season, more and more students have been turning up to school sneezing, coughing, having runny noses, and more. It noticeably differs from last year when the mask mandate was still in place, leaving one to question whether the mandate being lifted is actually harmful.

Every morning on the announcements, Parkdale principal. Dr. Tasha Graves  makes an announcement telling anyone that if they are coughing, sneezing, or show any signs of sickness that while they have the choice not to, they are asked to be considerate of others  health and wear a mask. 

I have noticed several trends in mask wearing among students at PHS,” Algebra teacher Ms. Danielle Yates said. “Initially, when the county-wide school mask mandate was lifted by the CEO, I was surprised to see that most students continued to wear their masks. As time progressed and we moved into early fall, I noticed that student mask wearing decreased significantly. As we enter the cold and flu season, I have most recently seen a dramatic increase in the number of students wearing masks.” 

With the emphasis on the fact that wearing a mask in school is still a choice, regardless of being sick, it does make you think about whether or not the mask mandate being lifted was in fact, the smart option. 

While some students still choose to wear a mask whether they are sick or not, it has gained some attention that many students are turning up to school without masks, some of them being sick and coughing. 

It should also be brought to light that it is flu season, and sickness around this season can be nearly inevitable.  While most are still trying their bests to avoid COVID-19, the flu shot is available for free at local CVS pharmacies, Walgreens, or groceries stores with pharmacies in them.

Regardless of vaccines or shots, the upward trend of absent students due to sickness–which can be hard to determine if it’s the flu, COVID-19, or just a seasonal cold– is apparent.

 “I think we would have less cases of sickness if we were all still wearing masks.” ddded Ms.Yates.