789 days stood between March 12, 2020, and February 28, 2022, a period of time in which school was held virtually, classes were taught in trailers with students spaced six feet apart, sanitation wipes were used to clean desks, and lunch was eaten from the comfort of advisory locations.
After a chaotic two years, Haverford is almost back to normal and masks are optional.
For some students, the mask-optional announcement required little to no consideration as to whether or not they would remove their masks in school.
“Personally, I believe that it is much better that we have an option to wear a mask rather than it being mandated,” Sixth Former Samir Pernell said. “Because COVID has been going on for such a long time, I would say the fear of COVID has been drifting away from the community. It feels like we have more freedom and control over what we can do with our own bodies and what happens to us. But, because we have more control, we are more susceptible to the consequences.”
Sixth Former Sam Tryon has also chosen to attend school maskless.
“I’m triple vaxxed, so I’m not too afraid of catching COVID and, if I do, it hopefully won’t be that bad,” Tryon said. “Wearing a mask for so long has been really annoying and uncomfortable. I just wanted to return to how school was before the pandemic, and so far it’s been great.”
While a high percentage of the student body has chosen to abandon their masks, others are not ready just yet.
“Right now, I am choosing to keep my mask on because I don’t feel super comfortable taking it off yet,” said Third Former Milan Varma. “I have some people at risk at home and people who visit often, like my grandparents, so I don’t want to take that risk just yet. And, I’m kind of used to it, so I don’t mind [wearing a mask]… But, I always take it off outside now, and I’m thinking next week I’m probably not going to wear it anymore.”
“Especially if I’m in a close space, I prefer to have it on so that I don’t get infected and other people don’t get infected.”Daniel Hou ’22
Other students pick and choose the situations as to when they remain masked.
“I don’t wear a mask all the time at school, but I just have one in my pocket to use,” Sixth Former Daniel Hou said. “Especially if I’m in a close space, I prefer to have it on so that I don’t get infected and other people don’t get infected.”
“I don’t wear a mask all the time. If I am doing exercise or something like that I usually take it off. But it doesn’t really get in the way most of the time. It’s nice to protect people,” Sixth Former Bobby Parillo said. “As far as I can tell, wearing a mask helps: not only protecting others and yourself from viruses and bacteria, but it also helps you not touch your face… I’m also immunocompromised, so I want to stay safe.”
The mask-optional policy has also brought on some difficult decisions for faculty and staff.
Math Department Chair Mr. Justin Gaudreau situationally elects when to mask up.
“To me, it was a family decision. I have a daughter who is underage and unable to get vaccinated. Depending on what space I’m in, I’ll respect the other person’s viewpoint and what they want to do,” Mr. Gaudreau said.