Mask mandate in Sheridan County School District 2 has been lifted


   The Sheridan County School District 2 has finally lifted the mask mandate in its schools as of Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. For the most part, students and faculty have been receptive to the change with a smile on their newly unmasked faces. It was a big decision for the school district to make due to the possible backlash throughout the community. 

   With the colder season soon on its way, the common head cold, influenza, and the stomach flu are all spreading like wildfire. With it being so soon after the repeal of the mandate, it is hard to tell exactly the difference that it has made on the number of cases. Many of the people who remain masked, even though the mandate has been lifted, are doing so to take care of those that may be increasingly susceptible to illness and more susceptible to the detrimental effects of COVID-19. Those who have chosen to remain masked have had the opportunity to do so. “I am so thankful that people have the choice to do what they feel is best for them,” said Pam Peldo, guidance counselor at SHS. “From what I have seen, people are being respectful of whatever people choose and I certainly hope that continues.”

   With the holiday season also approaching fast, more people are going to be traveling, and a majority of those people are going to be spending time with large groups of people. This only makes the transmission of illnesses that much easier. 

   Masks are more for the people that have fragile immune systems than for anyone else. While COVID-19 kills people, influenza does too. Masks are much more effective when the person who is sick is the one that is wearing a mask. The biggest difference that the masking is going to make is when it comes down to being masked around people that have fragile immune systems. Many students were confused when they came to school that Wednesday and saw that the nurse, Kathy Barker, was unmasked. However, Barker is fully vaccinated and has received the booster. She is not ill and there is no one that she deals with directly that has a sensitive immune system, so she feels it is not necessary that she wear a mask. 

   Many of the students who have been quarantined or simply stayed out sick have fallen behind in school. Sophomore and junior year are some of the most important years of students’ careers, and when they struggle to complete all of their assignments, they are getting set back for the duration of their high school careers. 

   Up to this point, it seems as though more people have been wearing masks incorrectly than they are wearing them properly, which makes it nearly impossible to say whether the masks have made a difference at all. 

   Above all else, the majority of students and staff are grateful to be learning in-person this school year. The lifting of the mask mandate, though wearing a mask is still strongly encouraged, is another step in the right direction for many of the SCSD2 attendees.