Posted on: February 11, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By JRN 111-Media Writing Students

Students at high schools in the area surrounding Moraine Valley–including Andrew, Sandburg, and Stagg–are no longer required to wear masks due to a court ruling Feb. 7. Meanwhile, the mask requirement remains in place at Moraine.

“Moraine Valley will continue to require mask-wearing indoors in keeping with the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health,” Vice President of Academic Affairs Pamela Haney said in an email Friday.

School District 230 was among 140 other school districts named in the court ruling, which Gov. J.B. Pritzker said “cultivates chaos” by voiding certain emergency orders for some districts and not others. District 203 has since begun its “reopening plan” and while masks are recommended for unvaccinated individuals, they are entirely optional for those who are vaccinated.

Meanwhile, in other suburban school districts last week, students and parents staged protests against mask-wearing, saying it is past time to give students and parents a choice.

Suburban Naperville high school students staged a protest against mask-wearing on Friday.

Is it time for Moraine Valley to go mask-optional? Opinions expressed by students appear to cover the spectrum.

“It’s too early to be getting rid of mask mandates,” said 20-year-old education major Judy Levine. “I will keep wearing my mask for as long as I can.”

Adam Sharifeh, a freshman health major, agreed: “It is what it is for the sake of safety. Yes, it can be hard to breathe sometimes if the mask is too tight, but it just depends on the mask. If people want COVID-19 to end, that’s what we have to do.”

Freshman Omar Hammoudeh, 18, said conditions have to be right before we go without masks: “I think everyone in the building should have the vaccine for them to lift the mandate.”

Selina Ammari, 21, a science major from Jordan, said things are more strict there: “They are all virtual in Jordan. Even when you are in a car, you need [a mask]. They even banned newspapers there since germs can spread through paper and money.” 

Other students expressed concerns over the effects of wearing masks for so long.

“It can be confusing to the youth,” said Daccarius Chapman, a freshman general studies major. “It makes it hard to be identified, or to even tell emotions…Over all, kids are struggling to read faces and learn crucial skills.”

Remonda Fathalla, a 17-year-old biology major, said, “It’s important and it shouldn’t be forced. Yes, take care of yourself and wear your mask and whatnot, but people losing their jobs over masks isn’t right.”

Veronika Boblak, a sophomore business major, said, “I will wear the mask if I have to protect myself, but it is not something I want to do. I don’t know if it really works. I think it just makes people feel more comfortable.”

Business major Johnny Dieck is in favor of people having a choice: “I don’t think schools should mandate them. A choice is good because the people that want to be safe can be safe.”

Though discussions regarding the future of mask-wearing at Moraine Valley may continue, Haney said administrators will have the final say.

“If/when the college changes this requirement, the information will be communicated with students and staff,” said Haney. “We often receive comments and suggestions from students and our community. While we take these into consideration, final decisions are made by the college administration.”

Editor-in-Chief Mariah Trujillo and News Editor Nick Stulga contributed to this report.