DCS requires masks inside of buildings for all individuals

Seniors Chloe Jeffers and Liam Harding wear their masks during study hall. Masks are now required at all times inside school buildings.

Carter Sims, Managing Editor

Since March 2020, Delaware City Schools has gone through a mix of online and hybrid learning models. This year, the district is back to full in-person learning, returning a bit of normalcy to the school experience.
“Definitely last year online, not very many people were talking, they had their videos off,” sophomore Jack Lenocker said. “This year a lot of people are talking in class.”
When Covid numbers climbed during the weeks before school and the Delta variant stopped in the U.S. on its world tour, it became apparent face coverings would be necessary for many school districts.
While Delaware City Schools originally mandated masking on a week-by-week basis based on the critical factor report card from the Delaware Public Health District, on Monday, the Board of Education voted to remove the connection to the Health Department Report Card. Instead, masks will continue to be required inside school buildings and on busses.
For the Board of Education, the decision was ultimately obvious. “We do look at all the data,” Board of Education President Frances O’Flaherty said. “We do look at what the CDC has to say. They’ve got a $60 million per year budget to figure out what is the best thing to do. Who are we to say ‘I know better’?”
However, some students have noticed that enforcement hasn’t been as strict as the previous school year.
“I’ve seen a decent amount of people that just don’t wear them at all and even then if people aren’t wearing it, it’s not like it’s enforced,” sophomore Cooper Titus said. “Compared to last year where they were completely yelling, this year it’s like they don’t care.”
In addition, teachers have agreed that the approach to masks has been a little different in the early part of the year. “For students who aren’t wearing masks, they’re supposed to have filled out the appropriate paperwork, and there’s been a little bit of a grace period for that,” math teacher Kathy Kraus said. “Now, we’ve been asked by the administration that if students aren’t wearing a mask and they don’t have a mask exemption in PowerSchool, we’re supposed to send them down to the office.”
The learning model is subject to change based on the circumstances of the coronavirus, as seen in the past 18 months, and in the early part of the school year across the country.
Lebanon School District in southern Ohio closed schools for one week after having 919 students quarantined. Lebanon did not require masks until the closure.
This comes back to the overarching theme of the pandemic: Doing things out of necessity, not by choice. While progress has been made, many aspects of everyday life (and school) require procedures against the virus to make life safer for everyone.
“There’s 3 sets of barriers you can have,” O’Flaherty said. “One is social distancing, and we’re cramming everyone back into schools, so that’s gone. Another is vaccination, and not only are [people] not getting vaccinated, but there’s so many that can’t get vaccinated yet. So you’re saying ‘You have to go to school, and you can’t be vaccinated yet, and we’ll let you wear masks if you want to.’ That’s not fair. We care more about the health of students and health.”