Springdale School District lifts mask mandate

At the school board meeting held on August 10, 2021 , board member Eddie Ramos was the only member to vote to have a mask mandate for the start of the school year. As a result, out of all of Northwest Arkansas, Springdale Schools is the only district to lift their mask mandate this year. 

After COVID-19 hit in 2020, all public areas in Arkansas required masks, including public schools. Furthermore, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, required a mask mandate for all public and private schools. But as of this year, masks are no longer required for students or teachers. 

“I wear a mask because my family believes it’s a safer option for us,” sophomore Ella Eastep said. “I think students should be able to have the choice if they want to wear a mask or not when at school. Students should be responsible enough to decide how they want to protect themselves.”

10th grade English teacher Meghan Chiquin believes that having an option to wear a mask benefits the students.

“I would say that this year there is a lot more student-teacher interaction and student-student interaction,” Chiquin said.

Chiquin believes that all students should be responsible to make a decision based on their own situations. 

“I think it is great because it shows the freedom our district is giving these students,” Chiquin said. “I know that a lot of people disagree with not wearing masks, but these high school students should be allowed to have the freedom of doing what they feel comfortable with on campus.”

Although some students and teachers like Chiquin say it’s important to have the freedom of choice, statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) show that 97% of those who are seriously ill with COVID-19 are the ones who aren’t vaccinated. The CDC also stated that those who are vaccinated should not be required to wear a mask. 

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or social distance,” Junior Shelby Davis said.

Davis believes the same rules should apply when at school. According to Davis, if you chose to not get vaccinated, you should wear a mask when on campus.

“I don’t really care what people do when at school,” Davis said,“ but if you aren’t vaccinated and not wearing a mask, get vaccinated. I am vaccinated and still wear a mask because I would feel horrible if I gave corona to my grandparents.”

Although Springdale School District has allowed freedom to wear a mask when at school or not, Davis argues that without having the vaccine, not wearing a mask at school is dangerous. Chiquin believes students should have the freedom to make a decision for what they believe is safest for them. 

“These kids are almost 18,” Chiquin said. “They deserve the freedom to choose if they want to wear a mask or not.”