How do Our Students Feel About Masks This School Year?

Hailey Perez

Masks this year are becoming more of an issue for students and teachers rather than how it was last year here in Mountain Home. According to https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/us/baxter-arkansas-covid-cases.html, “The cases for Coronavirus have decreased recently, but are still extremely high. The test positivity rate in Baxter County is very high, suggesting that cases are being significantly undercounted.” – The New York Times. 

As of Aug 24, 2021, there have been 23 new cases tested positive here in Baxter County. An average of 27 new cases are being reported nearly everyday. “At least 1 of 8 residents have been infected, a total of 5,282 reported cases.” The CDC is recommending vaccinated citizens continue to wear a mask because of how severe the spread is becoming. There has been a 20% decrease in positive cases since two weeks ago. I asked students about their opinion on wearing masks during the new school year, as we realize the virus this fall is worse than last year on the positive cases. 

I first approached Thomas Rowe (junior of Mountain Home High School). “ Wearing the masks in this hot weather with health problems is a serious issue. Lots of students here and teachers have asthma. We walk outside into this heat index, and it makes it super hard to breathe, making kids with asthma nervous. Students with asthma want to walk into the classroom and pull their mask down to help them breathe, but teachers tell them to keep their mask up, yet they are having a genuine problem breathing.” I thanked Thomas for his time, and continued to my next individual.

“I feel like masks are still needed. One big thing that sets this in stone for me is seeing a friend from out of state go back to school and half her school already being in quarantine, within 2 weeks. I understand every state is different, but school is unbelievably hard online. My last normal year of school was my freshman year. I’m now a senior and I can confidently say my high school career has been a mess. I know this year will be hard to get back to normal for my fellow classmates and I, but I have hope for next year and the years to come. In conclusion, I do believe that masks can help us all get back on track and back to normal school years.” – Haley Hartman (Senior of Mountain Home High School). 

My next individual was Miranda Stopka (Junior of Mountain Home High School). “I personally do not mind wearing my mask much but I would like to be able to have mask breaks where I can get some fresh air, while still being a safe distance of 6 feet apart. If we are 6 feet apart, we should be able to take our masks off if comfortable with doing so.” Most students prefer not to wear a mask, but under certain circumstances it is understandable by our students, and we chose to respect it, when we are asked to wear the masks, as uncomfortable as they are. We all want to keep each student safe here in the Mountain Home School District. Now that we are back in school after a long summer, we can’t see the familiar faces, once again, as last year was the same way. 

Due to covid-19, a potentially fatal virus, our world has changed. The students of Mountain Home High School should work together to prevent the virus from spreading in hopes that one day our world will be back to how it was before covid-19 hit.