Lebanon Unmasked


Maddy Summers (Junior), Reporter

As of Tuesday, February 22nd, Lebanon High School has officially made face masks and coverings optional. This was a thoughtful decision that took into account the school’s metrics and data by Dr. Milliman, who consults with the school board, along with the state and county health departments. It is a requirement for the school to mandate face masks if the total number of quarantined students reaches up to three percent, and the number of positive cases reaches up to two percent. Currently, the high school has exceeded this, giving the idea to go mask-free.

“The masks were made optional by looking at our school’s data and trying to make the most informed decision to keep everybody safe. I feel like, for our school, it’s not a political statement. None of this is ever about politics. It’s about trying to do what’s best for our students, and for our community, to keep people safe and healthy,” said principal Mr. O’Rourke.

With the masks becoming optional, the high school experience can go back to what was called, “normal”. Especially for seniors, with their prom, graduation, and the other monumental events which are now in full force. This year is their last, and some seniors would like to share some of their thoughts. 

“I’m relieved, honestly. It’s been nearly two years of mandates, and promises of ‘almost back to normal’. Obviously COVID isn’t just gone, and a large amount of people without masks could cause a spike, which is unfortunate. But being able to see a person and their emotions is a massive pro. And I’m not overly anxious about lockdowns or events being called off, but having that happen would definitely be a sad way to go out,” said senior Matthew Popovitz. 

“I don’t think that it’s very smart to make masks optional. I am afraid that the people who are immune-compromised, will now be put in a very scary situation. I don’t think anything will end up getting canceled, but I’m worried that more individuals will be getting sick and missing important high school events. Speaking personally, I am on two teams where we go to competitions and perform as a group. If one person is sick and gone for a weekend, it can mess up the whole rest of our team. So overall I just think it is an irresponsible decision that could jeopardize people’s health,” said senior Anneliese Wolfgang.

“It is what it is, you know? I’ve just gotten used to it. It’s something that has to be taken day by day. I just hope everything goes somewhat smoothly from here, the end of the year is kinda stressful. The only thing I really fear is my stats test,” said senior Skylar Ritchie.

“I’m okay with masks being optional. I don’t wear them when I’m out, and I always forget one. I feel as though it is everyone’s choice on what they do. I don’t want to go back into lockdown again just because it’s our senior year, and I don’t want to miss out on the opportunities. But I’m glad that we get some normalcy, even though it is at the end of the school year,” said senior Kailyn Spanhook.