Masks on or off, let’s agree to coexist peacefully

Without a mandate to unify our actions, we must rely on mutual respect to remain one student body


Dave Winter

McCallum students walk the halls on the last day of the mask mandate, March 3. Starting March 7, the AISD mask mandate, which has been in place since Aug. 11, 2021, is being rescinded due to the district’s decision to follow the CDC’s recommendation for optional masking.

Morgan Eye, staff reporter

To mask or not to mask?

At Wednesday’s special Board of Trustees session Superintendant Stephanie Elizalde announced that starting Monday, AISD will follow suit with the CDC’s new guidance that masks be made optional. Though you may have seen every McCallum student bringing and wearing a mask to school every day in the past, that does not mean that we agreed with each other on the subject.

Conduct research on the science behind masks and come to the conclusion that makes the most sense to you, and allow those around you to do the same.

Throughout the pandemic, conflicting opinions regarding mask-wearing have been extremely clear. We will never come to a mutual agreement, but we have to get ahead of the social turmoil the lifted mask mandate could bring to the social government of McCallum.

We need to learn to co-exist in a mask-optional environment. 

There are basically three widely held views on masks: Some believe that masks are an effective way of helping reduce transmission and/or infection and choose to use them every day. Others may believe that they are ineffective and choose not to use them. And still others may be neutral on masks, but feel that wearing them isn’t worth it inside stuffy, hardly air-conditioned classrooms at Mac. After two years of failing to come to a national consensus on masking, it is clear that most of us are unlikely to change our minds. So how do we manage this difference of opinion? Gen-Z may be a very politically proactive generation, but we don’t have a great reputation for accepting others’ opinions in the most mature of ways. This may be justified by our age, but we need to grow up and respect other people’s views, even if we don’t agree.

Over the course of the pandemic, both pro and anti maskers have been verbally abusing each other both in person and especially on social media trying to convince the other to put on a mask or take it off (or to get likes by disparaging someone on the other side of the mask divide).

This poll has ended.

Now that wearing masks is optional, are you going to wear a mask on Monday?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.

Only 30 minutes after releasing information regarding the district’s decision to lift the mask mandate, MacJournalism turned off commenting access on the post because the comments were far more likely to be personal insults than logical persuasive appeals. Just as fast, Instagram story reposts of the initial MacJournalism post both in support and against the motion went up. Some users praised the district for its decision; others included requests in their reposts for people to continue wearing masks or for those choosing not to wear masks to stay away from them entirely. 

When we return to school on Monday, I am anticipating a lot of unnecessary comments from both sides.

“You know we don’t have to wear those anymore, right? Take it off.”

“Don’t talk to me if you aren’t wearing a mask.”

Both statements are immature and not at all productive. We can’t pressure people to take off their masks just because we may not like that they decide to keep wearing one. Just as well, we cannot cut friends out of our lives just because they stand with the CDC’s new stance on masks. We all should refrain from bullying the other side of the mask divide to avoid being complete hypocrites.

I urge all of us to agree on just one thing; let’s just let people hold their opinions and do our best to uphold our own. If you are pro-mask, this may include some extra effort, including carrying sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer in your bag, double masking, and showering as soon as you get home. Yes, it sucks that both sides will have to deal with things we may not like, but it is time to accept that it is unavoidable and that neither side will get 100 percent of what they want.

We need to learn to co-exist in a mask-optional environment.

We all should stay true to our opinions. Masking is soon to become a social issue and not one related to our health, a fact that scares me. If masking feels right for you, don’t stop just because no one else around you is, or because someone asks you to stop. If you are anti-mask, don’t encourage your peers to remove their masks if they choose to keep them on.

Personally, I am pro-mask, and will always urge people who have the will to wear a mask, even if they don’t like it, to do so as a sign of courtesy. But I also won’t risk my current friendships because people don’t agree with me. Please make the decision that is best for you and your families. Conduct research on the science behind masks and come to the conclusion that makes the most sense to you, and allow those around you to do the same.