Bring the Mask Mandate Back


Jacqueline Ramirez

A discarded blue mask outside of Godinez Fundamental High School campus. Photo taken on March 16, 2022.

Jacqueline Ramirez, Staff Writer

On March 7, 2022, Superintendent Jerry Almendarez announced that on March 14, 2022, the mask mandate will go from required to highly recommended for staff, students, and community members in the Santa Ana Unified School District. There will be no clear distinction between those vaccinated and unvaccinated. 

This decision was reached due to decreasing COVID-19 cases across Santa Ana along with lower hospitalization rates. 

Although it’s a nice change of pace to go back to some normalcy after over two years of being in a pandemic, the mask mandate should stay in place. 

There may not be as many COVID-19 cases as before, but the virus is still here. 

As of March 4, 2022, the O.C. Health Care Agency reported on an average week they have a 9.8 case rate per 100,000 and 4% of people testing positive. It is still too soon for masks to come off when there are still people catching the virus. 

Algebra II teacher Linda Solval believes the mask mandate is necessary to keep herself, her family, and students safe. 

“For me, I come into contact with a lot of people who are immunocompromised. I feel more comfortable knowing that at least something is being done,” said Solval. 

She will be continuing to wear a mask in the classroom. Hopefully, this will encourage her students to keep theirs on. 

Not only does the mask mandate protect us, but many other methods should stay in place as well. 

A senior who wishes to remain anonymous stressed the importance of safety precautions. 

“The virus is still out there and we can’t risk lowering our guard. I’m still going to use hand sanitizer,” they said. 

For junior Katie Tran, she is concerned about the ever-increasing death rate in the United States. 

“People are still dying from it. I don’t want to spread it to people in my family,” said Tran.

She will also continue to wear her mask in the classroom. 

So how long should the mandate stay? 

Assistant Principal Jevon Davis perspective is cautiously optimistic.

“I wouldn’t say the mask mandate should stay forever, but I totally understand why it was put in place. It was very much needed to slow down the spread of infections around the state, country, and world,” said Davis. 

Davis will not wear a mask while alone in his office or outside, but will continue to be aware of how close he is to people. The only exception is when a teacher or student approaches him and they are close, then he will wear his mask. 

COVID-19 still exists and is still causing harm. There should be no excuse for not taking safety precautions when there are cases all over the United States. 

According to SAUSD’s weekly COVID-19 Dashboard & Statistics, there have been only two cases at Godinez Fundamental High School as of March 21, 2022. 

Will there be an increase in cases without masks? Or will everything turn out just fine? 

Only time will tell. 

In the meantime, I will wear my mask to keep myself and everyone around me safe.