Shelby County schools go under mask mandate

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Gisella Cazcarro, Chelsea Buzz Reporter

On August 26, Superintendent Dr. Lewis Brooks, announced a mask mandate upon all Shelby County Schools. The mandate began August 30 and will be in effect until at least October 1, at which time it will be re-evaluated.

According to data analyzed regarding coronavirus, Dr. Brooks felt that the use of masks would narrow down cases of coronavirus, which would also narrow down the number of people quarantined due to exposure. This would mean that more students would be able to traditionally attend school. 

Dr. Brooks specifically stated part of his reasoning behind this new mandate being put into place.

¨Our goal is to have as traditional a school year as possible,” he said. “We feel strongly it is necessary if we are going to positively impact the rising number of cases in our community. We also feel that this gives us the best chance to stay in school without a complete shutdown.¨

It is clear that his main goal is to ensure that students are given the opportunity to have as traditional a year as possible. 

The number of COVID-19 cases were rising with the new school year beginning. Now with the new delta variant of COVID-19 the number of cases are increasing even more. With one student contracting COVID-19 it could cause several other students within close perimeter to that one student to have to quarantine due to exposure. 

The quarantine policy was that if both students, or more, had on face masks they would not have to quarantine if exposed. However, due to masks being optional at the beginning of the year, only a few students wore masks.

That meant for the majority of people, if exposed you had to quarantine. There is another way around being quarantined though. If the student told to quarantine is fully vaccinated they don’t have to, unless they felt it was necessary. 

Now that masks are mandated for everyone on Shelby County school campuses to wear, the number of students being quarantined are slightly beginning to decrease. With this being said, even though masks are required to be worn at all times unless given other instruction, many students are not wearing them correctly.

CDC guidelines state, ¨If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places. In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings. In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.¨ 

School is a place for interacting, whether that be when participating in class activities or interacting with other students. So, based on what the CDC recommends, students and teachers should be wearing masks when inside or around each one another. 

Most health professionals think that getting vaccinated will help to minimize COVID. They also think that wearing masks will help stop the spread of others getting it that can’t or won’t get vaccinated. They also think that once most people begin getting the vaccine, the amount of COVID cases will begin to decrease. 

Though some people do believe that the outcome of more people getting vaccinated would help to improve the health of most everyone, there are still people out there who choose not to get it. Some people believe that the vaccine can harm them.