Full faces appear in the school building as masks become optional

The mask mandate is lifted for students, teachers, staff and visitors


Photo by Janiyah Lozada

Some students opt to continue to mask, while others are happy to be free. Today was the first day in two years that people could go maskless in school

Nakyia Wimbish, Staff Writer

Today masks became optional inside D.C. Public Schools for the first time in two years. Students, staff members and visitors were given the choice to wear a mask on school buses and during all school events and activities.  

From casual observation, students are still wearing masks. “Yes, I will continue to wear my mask because with this pandemic stuff no one really knows what works,” sophomore Melvin Barnes says.  

Earlier this month DCPS lifted their outdoor masks mandate which meant that masks were not required if the DCPS activity was held outdoors. But because Covid-19 case rates and hospitalizations have dropped steadily each week since January 9, as reported by the D.C. Health Department, the mask mandate changed for inside too. 

During lunch, Chef James Wiggins was asked about going maskless. 

“I was not really wearing my mask anyway, because I stay away from people. I teach from the front of my classroom, I walk around the perimeter to my desk, and no one comes near me. So, I’m happy that it has been relaxed because my body is like an engine, and it needs oxygen constantly flowing through it. I talk a lot because I’m an educator, so I was getting winded, so I’m happy that it’s been relaxed but I’m still going to keep my distance,” Wiggins said. “Now I can not wear my mask in peace because I was only wearing my mask for other people’s comfort.”  

Freshman Ariana Patterson was not wearing her mask after lunch, having put on a nice coat of lipstick, but she said she plans to keep wearing it. “I will take breaks, but for the most part I will keep mines on.”  

A Dcist article reported Covid-19 cases have dropped 90% and hospitalization rates have declined by 95% since the Omicron outbreak. According to D.C. Data an estimate 96% of D.C. residents have been partially or fully vaccinated and an estimate of 73% of D.C. residents are fully vaccinated.  

Will that be enough to keep Roose students safe?  

“I absolutely think the covid cases will go up in the building because people are not going to take the other necessary precautions,” Wiggins said. “Taking the mask off does not mean you can be up and jump up in everybody’s face.”