EPS changes mask policy amid rising cases

The+first+day+of+masks+at+Santa+Fe.+

Olive Miller

The first day of masks at Santa Fe.

Olive Miller, Howler Staff Writer

Last Thursday afternoon, Superintendent Grunewald sent an email out to EPS teachers, students and parents regarding a change to the mask mandate. Grunewald summarized and explained the reasoning behind the new COVID learning plan.

“The goal is – and always has been – to keep students safe and in school.” Grunewald said. “This requirement will go into effect September 8 for all staff and students in grades 1 – 12…” 

This policy is shifting due to the heavy rise in COVID-19 cases at Edmond Public Schools since the start of the school year.

According to Edmond Public School’s Covid-19 tracking website, at the time the mask requirement was implemented, the district had 2,022 active quarantined students and faculty, as opposed to 234 in the first week of school. This drastic increase prompted the need for mitigation to continue in person learning. 

This has stirred up many emotions in students, parents and teachers. Some students are against this change and others are for it. Students at Santa Fe High School have voiced their opinions about the new requirement.

“I think that the mask requirement is the best thing to do right now, just with the Delta variant,” sophomore Lexi Hussey said. “I think going back to school five days a week automatically puts everybody at risk.”

Other students believe that vaccination status should be considered in the new requirement.

“I’m for it but also against it,” junior Claire Scroggins said. “I feel like certain students should have a choice, if the student is vaccinated and has proof of that and can show people… then they can have a choice if they want to or not.” 

Some students believe that simply wearing masks is not enough to stop the spread.

“I feel like it’s not gonna make a difference because there’s so many people in our school, and so many people like bunched up walking in the halls, that I honestly just don’t feel like a mask is gonna help at this point,” sophomore Emma Taylor said. “And I feel like it’s just too late to be wearing masks.”

This policy goes into effect Wednesday, Sept. 8 for all students and faculty, but provides an opt out option for parents. 

“We need your help! By uniting in this effort, we show our students the importance of taking action for the greater good – arguably one of life’s most important lessons!” Superintendent Grunewald said.

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