78% of students polled said they will keep masks on


Kaitlyn Garza

As of March 1, HISD no longer has a mask mandate, but most CVHS students say they will keep masks on.

As of March 1, HISD students and teachers now have the choice to decide whether or not they want to wear a mask. In an Upstream News survey, 78% percent of 374 students polled indicated they would keep their masks on, while 22% of students are planning on taking them off. Although HISD superintendent Millard House II has advised that all principals encourage their students to keep their masks on.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has changed its ways of looking at COVID-19 threat levels; instead of looking at the amount of population that is testing positive, they are looking at severities in hospitals. In turn, 70% of the United States population is at a low or medium threat level. Which has led the CDC to remove its mask mandate in indoor spaces. On February 24 Judge Lina Hidalgo moved our threat level down one row to, significant, the second-highest level. 

“I was surprised that it happened so fast. I don’t want any student or any teacher to feel uncomfortable here, because they are immunocompromised or because they have an immunocompromised relative. I want everybody to feel safe and secure. I think we learned better when we’re safe and secure,” said social studies teacher Dr. Charlotte Haney

Despite the initial shock of the mask mandate being lifted, students are eager to experience activities that were halted in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Carnegie’s biggest social event: Interact Club’s International Festival (IFest), was forced to go virtual last year and took place via Discord. However, the mask mandate being lifted could mean the return of an in-person IFest.

“I was pretty happy, I’m not going to lie because being vice president of Interact, that means, we’ve had so many restrictions on what we can do,” said Junior Elissa Merhi.

Regardless of your opinion on wearing your masks, there seems to be a general consensus at Carnegie that everyone hates this pandemic.

“I hate them so much. It’s really really, really hard for me to learn my 190 students’ names and so it’s something that I like really have to work at so that’s why you’ll see me right outside my door. I also have kind of this weird, joking mannerism that like to mess with my students. And I think that some of them found it very intimidating at first and I couldn’t see that I was joshing and with them. So in a way, it’s interfered with our ability to build trusting relationships,” said Haney

United States public has slowly been waning its combat against the pandemic with 46% of Americans polling that we need to “just learn to live with it.” Carnegie’s principal Mr. Moss gave an announcement highly encouraging students and teachers to continue wearing their masks despite the mandate being lifted, citing that he himself would continue wearing his mask on campus. 

“At this point in the pandemic I’m like Jesus Christ end this damn thing already, it’s been like two years now. I’m tired of it,” said Senior James Herce.

Instead of making the decision on whether or not to wear masks at school based on individual comfort, people’s opinions are skewed by the politicization surrounding mask usage. People now see the masks as political statements rather than public protection and prevention. 

“Masks have been politicized very early on the CDC, public health officials, I believe they said that masks weren’t very effective and that’s been used like to say, ‘public health officials don’t know what they’re talking about.’ So lots of my friends in the health professionals couldn’t access the supplies they needed for safety. And they were worried that everybody was going to run out and buy up all the masks and then people who are right on the front lines wouldn’t have them available. So that’s my theory on why they [lied on the effectiveness of makss]. I hate that it has been politicized in that way,” said Haney

Confusion around wearing masks has stemmed from political leaders like Donald Trump who refuses to wear one, though a study done by the University of Washington shows that if 95% of the U.S. population wore masks 33,000 deaths would’ve been prevented. Masks are a matter of public health and civil courtesy.

“You liberals,” said senior Alexander Alt to a group of masked seniors.

Even though some faculty and staff are a bit apprehensive about removing their masks completely, none of the interviewees were upset about the district’s decision. 

“I would prefer we wear masks but I can understand how scientists believe that it’s not as big of a concern seeing COVID cases have been very low recently due to vaccinations,” said President of Vaccine Awareness Club, Junior Jeffery Qi.