As the Spread of COVID-19 Worsens, Should Mask Mandates Persist?

As+school+begins+there+is+a+mask+mandate+in+place+for+Miami+Dade+County.+Despite+backlash%2C+it+is+essential+for+the+sake+of+public+health.

Gabriela McGrath

As school begins there is a mask mandate in place for Miami Dade County. Despite backlash, it is essential for the sake of public health.

Gabriela McGrath Moreira, Staff Writer

As the new school year approaches, there have been many debates regarding whether or not masks should be mandatory in schools across the country, especially here in Florida. Though many Americans have opted to take the COVID-19 vaccine which lessens the spread, there are still those who refuse. It seems that mandating masks is the most logical solution due to the unvaxxers and the rising number of cases due to the delta variant. While states like California follow the science and make sure everyone masks up, Florida is doing the complete opposite.

Instead of encouraging masks, Governor Ron DeSantis has decided that he would do everything in his power to make a “maskless” state; he recently threatened to take away state funding and withhold superintendent’s pay if masks become mandated. He remains firm on this, even with the CDC now recommending that all people, including the vaccinated, wear masks in crowded indoor places.

Even after over a year and a half of living with COVID-19, it continues to remain highly politicized. The unnecessary controversy over masks has even caused anti maskers to go as far as claim they “want their kids to breathe.” However, if they were truly concerned about their children’s safety, they’d support measures to try and prevent the chance of them not breathing. The fact that there are still minors whose parents do not let them get the vaccine only emphasizes the importance of a mask mandate in schools and is still prevalent after more than a year of COVID.

“I do think there should be mask mandates but as DeSantis threatens to take away funding, schools do not have the opportunity to enforce masks. Schools basically live off of funding and without it they are extremely underfunded,” sophomore Amalia Garrido said.

Politicians like DeSantis have no regard for public health and safety and continue to ignore the facts all for the sake of keeping his ratings up from his supporters. This notion that enforcing masks means your rights are taken away is precisely why this pandemic is so politicized. Truthfully, wearing a mask is simply doing your part to protect others and yourself. Masks are effective against COVID and help lessen the chances of infection for you and others. It is precisely why wearing it should not be related in any way to the infringement of rights.

I think masks should definitely be mandated. While it’s really exciting to see everyone and get back to normal, we still need to prioritize our health and safety,”

— sophomore Sienna Fakiri

So many students are still unvaccinated by choice or simply because of ineligibility. The delta variant is dominating United States cases and is more aggressive than ever.

A Florida Judge seems to understand the necessity of masks as they ruled that districts were allowed to require them. Judge Cooper said that school districts are allowed to take actions that are “reasonable and necessary to achieve a compelling state interest” proving DeSantis is going against the law. This ruling is a legal breakthrough on the subject as it shows how unreasonable DeSantis was being and as a result, the judge says he would prevent any action taken against school districts with face masks.

As cases rise, being unvaccinated gets even more dangerous as Florida is considered to have one of the lowest vaccination rates. People are still not realizing that the risk of COVID is prevalent and easier to catch as the delta variant is 50 percent more contagious than the original Covid strain.

Nonetheless, there is some light at the end of this tunnel. Our superintendent Alberto Cavalho has decided to go against Governor DeSantis and enforce the mandate. The Florida Judicial Court has reinforced the fact that DeSantis does not have the liberty to simply ban mask mandates for all. That is why it is essential to keep wearing a mask for the safety of students.