Lack of Mask Discipline Causing Concern


Reyha Parsh

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has been going on for almost two years, Westminster students and faculty are still required to wear masks. But many of the students and faculty here at Westminster are not happy with the students’ efforts in wearing masks.

Almost all of Westminster agrees that wearing masks is important. Susan McMillan, 6th-grade girls grade chair explains that “it’s been scientifically proven that people who have been vaccinated can still get COVID, whether it’s the new strain or the old strain.”

Even though masks are a great source of protection against the virus, many of Westminster’s students find wearing masks uncomfortable. “I know they’re important because they help to protect others, as well as help protect us,” says 6th grader Sarina Dhingra, “but obviously, they’re itchy and no one likes wearing them.”

Since most of the 6th-grade students here at Westminster are not yet able to be vaccinated, stricter rules have been enforced to help prevent the spread of COVID. However, some of the 6th graders don’t think their grade is being safer than the others. 6th grader Eli Braintwain claims that he “doesn’t think” that 6th graders are aware that they’re the only grade that isn’t vaccinated, so they have to be more careful.

As we know, this year’s COVID protocols are noticeably different from last year. “We would have designated mask breaks and one-way hallways last year,” says 6th and 7th-grade math teacher Shazeen Porbandarwala. “This year we’re still wearing masks in school, inside the building, but outside, students can take it off as long as they’re a little further apart.” 

Some teachers believe that the students have been doing a worse job wearing their masks than last year. “I think people are feeling like ‘oh I’ve been vaccinated, I can’t catch it,’” says McMillan. “But I know three people who have been vaccinated and who have gotten COVID.” 

Many of Westminster’s teachers are getting tired of always having to be “the mask police” for their students. Middle School English teacher Tyree Churchill reveals that “it’s exhausting to attempt to regulate students in their mask wearing” and it makes her “fatigued.”