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Cassidy Smith

Students share their reaction’s to the Austin school district’s decision in March to make mask wearing optional.

Austin ISD’s optional masking prompts mixed feelings

April 22, 2022

Not ready to unmask

With new guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, schools nationwide are dropping their mask mandates, including Akins.

Slowly we are seeing more and more students unmasking. But is Akins truly ready to unmask?

There are a lot of good things about wearing masks. Even with the mask mandate lifted I can’t help but keep my mask on. I don’t think about it anymore. It has become second nature to put it on. It didn’t seem strange to wear it anymore after the first month of the school year. I got used to wearing it. I even liked wearing my mask.

With the mask on, I felt more comfortable and confident. That’s because I didn’t have to worry about what my face looked like. Then in the colder months, it was a way to stay warm. While the summer is arriving, it protects my face from UV rays from the sun.

Then with time, I realized I could improve the way I dress with my mask. They added colors and patterns to my outfits. They could be final touches or a whole centerpiece of what I wear. However, wearing a mask is more than those reasons.

Before and now, the main reason I still wear my mask is that I want to keep myself and my family safe. To me getting my family sick is something that I never want to happen. That is because I don’t think anyone would even want to get their family sick but my conscious wouldn’t feel too good knowing that I was the reason they are sick. I would feel guilty even if I didn’t mean to infect them. Add that I would have to see them for days or weeks going through a lot of discomfort or pain. I wouldn’t want to see my family in that state.

Then If I got sick I wouldn’t want to burden my family and force them to quarantine and take care of me because I got sick. Also if I got COVID there’s a chance I could mess up my lungs for an unknown amount of time. I don’t want to go through that.

After a while, I just got use to the comfort of knowing that wearing a mask at school is just more hygienic. If I cough or sneeze at least I know it is harder for me to spread germs than doing it in my elbow. I also like being around others who are wearing masks because at least I know it is safer, knowing it’s less likely germs are on me or the things I’m touching.

Another reason that I wear masks is that it’s a massive flex that I’ve got this far into the pandemic and still haven’t got COVID. I don’t want to ruin the perfect streak. Then once this pandemic is officially over I have a small bragging right.

With that, I will continue to wear my mask until I know that the chance of me getting COVID is pretty low. It’s more about time for me as well. It seems too early to unmask yet. there still are hundreds of COVID cases having in Travis County even with it being low risk. It still seems like a lot so I don’t want to add to that for the time being I will keep masking up.

About the Writer
Photo of Rudy Morales
Rudy Morales, Staff Writer
Grade:  10th 

Academy: AHA 

Number of Years on Staff: My first year

Title: staff writer 

Why do you enjoy being on staff? I like how it opens opportunities for my future that I would have never known about.

What do you do for fun? Skateboarding and making music. 

What are your hobbies? Drawings, Animation

Hopes & Dreams after high school? Maybe work in animation tho I have no idea 
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Ready to unmask

During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, mask-wearing became the norm in our community.

However, since the Centers for Disease Control revised its guidelines on mask-wearing in late February and COVID-19 cases in Travis County began dropping rapidly, more and more students have gradually made the decision to stop wearing a mask while on campus.

I haven’t worn a mask at school for the past month now, and apart from a few friendly jabs from my classmates, not much has changed. My main motivation to stop wearing a mask at school is to improve my flow of oxygen, which is limited by the mask, making me incredibly tired during stale class periods.

The other main reason is because wearing a mask gives me really bad acne around my mouth and nose, which is a pain to deal with by itself. Even though I’m not wearing a mask, I still take extra precautions in order to protect myself and the people around me.

I keep a mask on me just in case I need to sneeze or cough in a crowded place, or if someone else is showing symptoms of illness. I’ve also been double vaccinated and have taken the booster shot, and I take a COVID test every time I come in contact with someone infected, just to be safe.

Just because I don’t wear a mask doesn’t mean that I’m against other people wearing them. COVID has shaken up our world in more ways than one, and it’ll take some adjusting before everything settles down entirely. Therefore, if people feel more comfortable wearing a mask in public because it gives them a sense of security, I’m completely fine with that, even if my choice is different from theirs at the end of the day.

I still hold the opinion that if you are a danger to others or at high risk, you should be wearing a mask. According to the CDC, over 81% of COVID-related deaths happen to adults over the age of 65. This means that an estimated 4.9 million seniors have died from COVID-related issues. These are the kind of people who should still be wearing masks for their own safety, as well as anyone who has regular contact with them.

Many countries have been using masks to minimize the spread of illnesses in public spaces long before the COVID-19 outbreak began. In the United States, however, that practice is frowned upon, and people who wear masks in public are labeled as “germaphobes” and “freaks” despite the fact that they are just trying to protect themselves or others from infection.

While I have stopped wearing my mask now that Travis County is considered low risk by the CDC’s new rating system, and I don’t plan on wearing one in the future unless it’s absolutely necessary, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. At the end of the day, everyone has their own preferences and they shouldn’t be pressured to change their ways based on the opinions of others.

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