Masks Mandate

The Right Mask for the Task - COVID-19 - Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of  Public Health

Georgia Kirkendall

Many high school students have been getting vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine since the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has allowed those 16 and older to receive immunization. With a rising number of immunized people, the CDC on May 13 edited their guidelines for quarantining and mask wearing. While this step towards normalcy is exciting, many people have been left confused with what exactly “normal” means for them. Fluctuating guidelines are different for everybody, with restrictions based on age, work, vaccination status, and other risk factors. What can you do? How can you ensure your safety, as well as the safety of those around you? 

I’ve noticed that Hamden High students are getting antsy. Pulling down masks below the nose, and outright taking off masks, has become an increasingly problematic issue. When students are asked to put the masks back on, I hear the repetitive rebuttals. “It’s so itchy.” “I’m hot.” “Why do I have to? I’m vaccinated.” To the first two complaints, all I have to respond with is ‘deal with it’, yet the third argument does raise a valid point. Why should students wear masks if they are vaccinated? Didn’t the new CDC guidelines allow vaccinated people to go unmasked both outdoors and indoors? The answer is yes and no. While the updated version of the coronavirus guidelines does state that fully vaccinated people (meaning those who received their second vaccination shot, or one for Johnson and Johnson, two weeks or more ago) may discontinue social distancing and masking, there are some restrictions. 

One such restriction is that all people, regardless of their vaccination status, must stay masked when inside a school building. This is because others in the area are younger, and therefore less likely to have received their vaccinations. Other places that require masking are healthcare facilities, nursing homes or rehabilitation centers, and public transportation. It is important when deciding whether or not to mask up, to be mindful of where you are and respect those around you. As some people may have underlying health conditions of which you’re not aware. 

Still confused? If you’re unsure of what to do in certain social settings, check out the CDC’s informative publication: “What You Need to Know: COVID-19 Vaccination, Mask-Wearing, and Social Distancing.” It can be found on the Hamden Public Schools home webpage, or just follow the link below.