Masks are not required, but little has changed


Josh Pohl

Many students in the high school have decided to continue wearing masks

Josh Pohl

Interim Principal Jake Manning had a positive message during 1st hour on January 24, the first day of the second semester. He wanted to remind everyone of the importance of respecting others’ decisions. For the first time since West Ottawa returned to face-to-face learning, students may choose to not wear a mask. Manning wanted to remind everyone to respect those decisions.

   In reality, Monday was not much different from preceding school days.

   Most students continued to wear masks. In most classes, at least 85% of the students wore masks, with the entire school average above 75%.  In many classes, only one student went maskless.

   “Me personally, I don’t mind wearing a mask, but I would obviously prefer not to. I just recently had Covid, so for the next three months, I’m immune until the next variant. I feel comfortable that I won’t be infecting others, which is why I chose to not wear mine,” Jr. Nash Bosma said.

   The biggest priority is to make sure every student is respected and treated equally, regardless of the choice. “Most people seem to be very respectful so far. But, I would be willing to put on a mask if someone around me is uncomfortable,” Bosma said.

Staff at WO elementary schools reported similar results with some exceptions.

An elementary teacher said, “I know there is a class that has only 5 students masked and another that has only 5 without masks.”

The variance is greater than that found at the high school.

Sr. Meagan Rockafellow said, “I wear a mask because I want to get through the school day without getting a virus that would make me sick and to make sure I don’t make anyone else sick.”

Most students at the high school share Rockafellow’s perspective.