Students push to change mask policy


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Lindsay Dodd, Feature Writer

As the 2021-22 school year is taking off and students are excited for the new year, many are disappointed by the mask mandate instated by the USD 232 school board. 

On June 7, the school board had decided to lift the mask mandate, which had required all students and staff to wear a facial covering on school premises. Throughout the summer, anyone entering a USD 232 building had the option to wear a mask or not, with signs that encouraged all those in attendance to wear a mask. 

As the school year began, the school board voted to require all students and staff to wear masks regardless of vaccination status. After this rule was reinstated, many students were upset with the final verdict. 

“It made me sad because I thought my final year at De Soto would be a normal one since my sophomore and junior year were the opposite,” senior Addyson Wernimont said. 

Several students were very frustrated with the board reinstating the mask mandate and decided to raise awareness to change the requirement to be optional. 

“I want masks in schools to be a choice for each student,” senior Reed Richards said. 

As most people know, masks have been an ongoing debate ever since the beginning of the pandemic. Many people have various feelings behind mask mandates, but Richards has his own idea behind mandating masks. 

“[Mandating masks] is not about just submitting to something that is universal [even] if you disagree with it,” Richards said. “We need to realize that if you do this your whole life, you will never have control of yourself.” 

In addition to Richards’ views about the mask mandate, another student, senior Isabella Fernandez, is taking action to fight for her rights. 

“My goal is for students everywhere to have a choice about wearing masks. I want to come up with some plans for students to meet up and take action altogether at some point,” Fernandez said.

While both students want to change the mandatory masks, they are both under the age of 18 which makes it difficult to move forward legally.

“Not much has changed in policy yet. Hopefully, the more pressure the school board receives, the more likely they will be to make masks optional,” Richards said. 

Although both are minors, they still have strong opinions about the mask mandate and are continuing to raise awareness. 

“Mask Choice 4 Kids has an agenda that I will be following and attending events for,” Richards said. 

For more information and to hear about upcoming events, follow @yourmaskyourchoice_desoto on Instagram.