California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California will lift the mask mandate on Wednesday February 16th. The Santa Barbara county public health department also announced Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties are ending their indoor mask mandates on the 16th as well. According to the Santa Barbara county public health department, the new mask rules released on the 10th of february stated that, “Universal masking will remain required in specified settings including, but not limited to, public transit, indoors in K-12 schools, childcare, shelters, healthcare settings, correctional facilities, and other care facilities. Only unvaccinated persons will be required to mask in all indoor public settings. Fully vaccinated individuals will be recommended to continue masking in public indoor settings.” One of the most controversial rules that has come out of the new mask requirements is that schools are still being extremely strict with continued mask enforcement. Some California high school students have come together and protested the continued mask enforcement by forming walkouts from school and not wearing masks. According to the CDC out of the nearly 1,000,000 deaths attributed to Covid-19 in the United States, only 643 of those deaths have occured in the 5-18 year old age group. This means that the chances of a high schooler dying from Covid-19 is 0.0006%. This means that you are more likely to die by getting struck by lightning than from Covid-19.
The counter to this statement is saying that these kids could give the virus to an older person or somebody with existing health issues, but I think with the access to the Covid-19 vaccines, everybody who wants to get vaccinated has the chance to. I interviewed San Marcos volleyball player and student Nate Loomer on his thoughts on Santa Barbara schools still enforcing masks. Loomer said, “teenagers are so unlikely to have serious health issues from Covid that I think it is very pointless for us to still be forced to wear masks, I think it is a personal choice if you are afraid of attracting Covid you can wear a mask but I think we have reached a point to wear I can chose if I still wear a mask or not. To me it’s obvious that the school isn’t concerned about spreading Covid as they do not care what type of masks we wear. I see kids wearing cloth masks which are proven to not be as effective as surgical or K95 masks. The surgical masks have also been proven to be 9-12% effective. I don’t see why we still are required to wear masks that are 9-12% effective if we are in no risk at all to being killed by the virus, and people who are at risk to the virus have had access to vaccines and masks that are effective.
The mask requirements for California schools will be re-evaluated on Monday the 28 of February so I am calling upon the California government to end the mask mandate at school. Let’s see eachother smile again!
Landon is a freshman at San Marcos High School…