Student views on the mask mandate run the gamut

From strong support to skepticism about the science, NASH students hold a variety of opinions on the statewide mask requirement in schools.


photo by Jess Daninhirsch

Do students really feel strongly for or against masks?

Ryan Nash, Senior Staff Writer

With recent events such as the “My Kid, My Choice” rally and a student walkout, it’s clear that some members of the NA community are passionately opposed to Governor Wolf’s mask mandate in all Pennsylvanian schools. On the flip side, many are supportive of the mandate, demonstrated by the high number of students who wore masks on the first day of school when it was optional.

But are students’ views on mask-wearing their own, or is there some element of peer or parental pressure? 

“I don’t really have an opinion on the mask mandate,” said a junior who asked to remain anonymous. “It’s one of those things where you sort of forget about it after wearing it for a while. I guess I would like it to be optional, but I don’t really mind it.”. 

Such a moderate view on the state policy is not uncommon.

“I’ve forgotten to wear my mask and put my mask back up after taking it down to eat,” said another junior. “I don’t really mind it, though.”

This same opinion reverberated in the views of many of students interviewed for this article — but not all.

“The masks are terrible. I get this weird feeling on my skin from the masks,” said a senior student after pausing to scratch an itch near his mask. “Do I get why the mask mandate was instituted? Sure, I’ll deal with it. Doesn’t mean I’m not hoping for the end of this.”

In fact, none of the students interviewed for this article were directly hostile to the mandate, although a few felt it is unnecessary. 

“I find them annoying, but I get why we wear them,” said one 12th grade girl. “Still, I disagree with the reasons. I was really happy when I thought the mandate was going to be lifted. I’m not going to fight it, though.”

In fact, some students remain skeptical.

“Did you know the CDC didn’t even say the masks were necessary at first but then switched it up like a month later?” another senior said. “I think the science isn’t clear cut on this, I’m still going to wear a mask since it’s required. I have better things to do than do whatever you’d [have to do to get] rid of the mandate.”

Several students who were interviewed, however, expressed strong support for the mandate.

“I genuinely don’t get the issues with the masks, outside of people suffering from asthma or another lung problem. I mean, you’re literally saving lives,” a 12th grade student said.