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Are You Still Masking Up At School?

For the first time in two years, wearing a mask during in-person learning is an option. CPS officials made the decision that March 14th would be day one for students to make their own decision when it comes to mask wearing. Chi Arts students, however, were instructed to keep their mask on this week.

Chi-Art’s, alongside other charter schools in the city of Chicago, doesn’t seem to have a clear future when it comes to lifting the mask mandates at the moment.

“The health and safety of our students, families, and personnel remain a top priority to Chi Arts. Chi Arts and the Chicago Teachers Union Charter Division are currently in discussions over Chi Arts’ mask mandate. At this time, ChiArts will maintain its mask mandate in place,” said Chi Arts vice-principal Abbey Cullen.

This unfortunate back and forth all goes back to those last few weeks of 2021 and the first few of 2022. During this time COVID cases were once again reaching a concerning high and students and teachers were at home while negotiations between the Teacher’s Union and Lori Lightfoot were held concerning the reopening of schools. It all came down to the CTU fighting relentlessly for proper COVID-19 safety precautions in school.

The negotiations cultivated into a deal that assured these precautions when schools reopened. So when it was decided that the mask mandate would be dropped, the CTU had something to say about it.

“Today’s move by Mayor Lightfoot and CPS not only violates the union’s agreement with the district, but it also ignores the impact that COVID-19 has on communities of color,” the Chicago Teachers Union said in a statement.

CPS students still wearing masks.

Opinions of students and teachers all over Chicago are split on whether or not our city should see the mask mandate dropped. Every student will for sure be making up their own minds when it comes to staying safe.

Chi Arts tenth grader Morgan Folks is choosing to wear hers mask.  “I’m keeping my mask on my face because it gives me a sense of security. The only time I would take it off is my conservatory (dance) because it’s hard to breathe/articulate in them.”

Eleventh grader Diona Groce, also from Chi Arts, is not going to be swayed by the new rule. “The mask mandate removal is concerning because COVID is very much still a thing. The mask mandate being lifted doesn’t  change the fact that I’m still going to wear a mask.”

Joshua Jones, a Kenwood Academy senior, is happy to get rid of his face covering. “I’m not wearing a mask because I don’t have to, and they were an inconvenience to me anyway.”

Unlike Jones, Kenwood senior Zuri Yearwood, will keep doing what she was prior to the mandate lift. “I am wearing my mask because I want to keep my family members who are immunocompromised safe.”

COVID has made life a series of ups and downs when things look like they might be getting better only to get worse. Hopefully sooner rather than later, we will get a true break from this virus and not have to fear getting sick. Until we are all one hundred percent in the clear, continue to practice social distancing, get vaxed and boosted, wash your hands and of course, wear a mask indoors.


By Kendal Amos, Junior at Chiarts

Instagram: Kendal.amos

*Asata Young of King College Prep contributed to this article.

Written by TrueStar Staff

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