Optional Masks Successful So Far


Photo by Evan Fishback

Ms. Leveroni teaches a class of masked and maskless students.

Evan Fishback, staff writer

For many, the February 16 decision made by the school committee meeting to make masks optional  brought relief and joy. It was the end of an era; at least it seemed so. No one was quite sure of what these lifted restrictions would bring. Barnstable High School is two weeks into the mask mandate in schools being lifted. So far it has been seen as fairly successful and the transition has been nearly seamless.

“It’s gone really well,” said Principal Elizabeth Freedman. Freedman admitted that she had trepidation about what no masks would bring for students and staff alike. She reiterated something that some may have heard around the school, saying that it felt like the first day of school all over again. Freedman originally wore her mask, but after a few days switched to the maskless approach like many others.

One of those who went maskless is Junior Liam McCarthy, “With my situation it wasn’t necessary,” he said. McCarthy sited that with being young and healthy he didn’t feel like wearing a mask needed to be continued to be done. 

Physics teacher Ken Holland echoed those views. Holland had COVID-19 in December and is double-vaccinated as well as having the booster. Taking all of those things into consideration, he decided that he could do away with the mask.

Not all felt so comfortable about returning to school maskless. Freedman was very sympathetic to those views. She hoped that those who didn’t toss the mask aside would not be targeted for their decisions. “Our students are awesome,” Freedman said, citing that she hadn’t heard about any students being harassed over their decision to remain masked-up.

Junior Zoe Hughes chose to keep the mask on and had several good reasons for doing so:the biggest being the protection of her grandparents. Hughes said that she and her parents already had COVID-19, but that her grandparents hadn’t and she wanted their safety to be her biggest concern. Hughes also mentioned how normal wearing a mask had become, “I don’t see a point in stopping now,” she said.

Overall, the decision has seemed to be positive, students and staff can interact much more personably and there’s one less obstacle to overcome in today’s environment. Most important of all, “I get to see peoples’ smiles again,” Freedman said.