Cypress High School Needs to Strengthen Mask Mandates

Freshman+student+Talania+Wilson+poses+with+masks+indoors.

photo by YeJi Jong

Freshman student Talania Wilson poses with masks indoors.

by Ye Ji Jong, Editor In Chief

Despite recent news of COVID cases rising and the new Delta variant spreading faster than ever, Cypress High School is back in person with questionable safety precautions. While administrators enforce masks indoors, they’re lenient about students not wearing their masks outdoors. More importantly, there’s a lack of awareness of which staff and students have been vaccinated, which adds to the dangers of leniency.

This is far too lax, irresponsible, and unsafe of the school considering how crowded the outdoors are and how the new delta variant is far more dangerous and contagious.

 The CDC reports that, “in late June, the 7-day moving average of reported cases was around 12,000. On July 27, the 7-day moving average of cases reached over 60,000. This case rate looked more like the rate of cases we had seen before the vaccine was widely available. Second, new data began to emerge that the Delta variant was more infectious and was leading to increased transmissibility when compared with other variants, even in some vaccinated individuals…Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to others. However, vaccinated people appear to spread the virus for a shorter time… This means fully vaccinated people will likely spread the virus for less time than unvaccinated people.”

It’s established that the Delta variant is highly contagious, with reports showing that it’s more than twice as contagious as previous variants. Thus the six feet distance rules aren’t as effective, ultimately causing safety and health concerns when masks aren’t required outdoors. More importantly, regardless of whether the six feet distance rules work, there still is no six feet mandate outside. Students are inches away from each other during passing periods, lunch, and after school. Students who are wearing masks are still put in danger, since a mask’s full effectiveness only works if everyone is wearing one. 

Thus, the administration not setting strict mask rules outdoors sets a precedent for students that just being vaccinated is enough to prevent the spread of coronavirus. It sends a message to the student body that they don’t really care about the students who are immunocompromised or live with people who are. While vaccines just prevent serious hospitalization and time of spread, students and their families are still put in danger. Regardless, masks and vaccinations must be required for safety and to stop the spread of this dangerous virus.

What’s more concerning however, is that students and staff members who are supposed to be setting an example are sometimes the people who are breaking the rules. 

An anonymous student stated, “I always see ASB students without their masks in big crowds. Some administrators also just don’t have their masks on or it’s never on properly. It’s just so ignorant and gross because so many people suffered physically and emotionally due to this virus. I don’t understand why they decided to re-open the school and have events when they’re not even going to be safe.” 

Wearing a mask is not difficult. It is not political. Cypress needs to practice what they preach about safety, empathy, and character by setting strict standards on masks that show they’re aware and cautious of the dangers of COVID and its impact on every student. Unless Cypress is willing to take financial and emotional responsibility for the repercussions of another COVID case, they must enforce stronger mask mandates. Cypress High School must do better.