Student opinions on the mask mandate


Lauren Sitrin

A sign recommending face masks.

By Lauren Sitrin, Reporter

In a poll administered by The Champion through Instagram, a poll of Lane students conducted just before the Illinois mask mandate was lifted, 30% of 236 respondents were in favor of the mandate being lifted, while 70% were not. 

A similar survey was put on the daily student newsletter from February 23-28, and received 134 responses; that survey mirrored the results of the Instagram poll, with a 70/30 split in favor of the mandate.

Additionally, it was asked on the survey if students think Chicago Public Schools (CPS) should make masks optional, which also had a 70/30 split with only 30% in favor of going mask optional. 

On Feb. 28, masks in all public spaces in Illinois were made optional. Along with this shift, the state also ended the vaccine mandate that was required to enter most facilities such as restaurants, venues and park districts, for example. 

Masks will still be required on public transportation and during air travel, and private institutions such as school systems can choose to keep a mask requirement in place.

CPS officially announced that masks are optional in school as of March 14.

Although most students believe that few significant changes were made in day-to-day life, student opinions certainly differ on the matter. 

 Many students have expressed concerns over making masks optional when it comes to the safety of them and their families. All interviews were conducted before CPS made masks optional.

“I don’t feel like it’s a great idea because even if cases are going down, that doesn’t mean the pandemic is over,” said Lane student Bee Morrissy via an email interview.

“It concerns me… that now that people won’t wear their masks that cases will go up,” Morrissy continued. 

Many students share the “better safe than sorry” mindset and do not want to break the habits that have been developed over the past two years.

“I personally will continue to wear my mask in order to keep others around me safe,” Morrissy said.

However, some students share stronger opinions when it comes to COVID precautions. 

I’m still in the mentality that we should be online because the danger is still not over yet,” said sophomore Nicholas Lee.

Although some students believe remote learning is the only way to keep us safe, it would take extreme amounts of cases within CPS to see this shift, as the negative academic and psychological effects of remote learning remain prevalent, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Many students and teachers have expressed their concerns about the difficulties of learning in a remote environment; therefore according to CPS, schools would only shift to remote learning if 30% or more of the school is absent due to COVID.

Conversely, other students are in full support of this shift towards no masks. According to sophomore Reyli Espinosa, “this is a step towards progress.” 

“With the recent statistics showing that the cases have been going down in Illinois and the city of Chicago and the high vaccination rates among CPS students at Lane Tech, I’d say it is a step towards the right path,” Espinosa said.

As Lane’s vaccination rate continues to increase, currently sitting around 86.2%, according to WBEZ Chicago, some students believe removing precautions is the best way to move forward. 

“I’d rather have the mask mandate be lifted than just keeping it forever,” said Espinosa.

However, others believe vaccine enforcements should remain in place, and mask mandates should be more strictly enforced. 

“I feel like there should be stricter rules involving wearing your mask correctly because a lot of kids in my classes wear their mask with their nose out,” Lee said. Lee was interviewed before the lifting of the mandate.

The mandate being lifted has also hindered students’ social life. 

“I feel like I wouldn’t hang out with as many people because even if they aren’t wearing a mask and I am, they can still spread it,” Morrissy said.

For the foreseeable future, Lane students will continue to make their personal choices on whether or not they wear a mask to school and in other public spaces.