Opinion: One more shot

A new COVID variant threatens normalcy, but provides district a second chance to get things right.


Matthew Peterson

Some students choose to wear masks before they were required.

Daniel Farrow, Staff Reporter

On Aug.17, LISD Superintendent Dr. Bruce Gearing announced that a district-wide mask requirement would take effect the following day. The requirement is officially listed as “temporary”, however, there is no end date or goal in sight. In contrast, on May 21, earlier this year, Governor Greg Abbott passed an executive order banning mask mandates. The ban affects all government entities in the state including public schools. Governor Abbott stated that any entity that violates the ban would be pressed with a lawsuit and up to a $1,000 fine. 


It is confusing why LISD would choose to disregard a state level executive order especially since the same actions were already taken in several districts in Dallas only a few days ago. On Aug. 15, the Texas Supreme Court sided with Abbott’s order in the case regarding Dallas schools’ illegal mask mandates. Still, there have been decisions in lower level courts that agreed with the mandates as well as a ruling by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins who upheld an order to require masks in all public schools, universities, and businesses.   


Although there is no legal way to find out how many LISD students are vaccinated, it is clear that the vast majority of us students have received some form of the shot. As soon as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were released, students began posting their vaccine cards on social media as symbols of virtue and pride. People often ask which version of the vaccine you received and if you felt ill afterwards. The question has become an ice breaker, a precaution, and often a requirement. From these conclusions, I can make a firm assumption that most of our students are vaccinated, and the division of mask wearers and non-wearers is roughly 50% within our school. 


This all begs the question, why again? We got the vaccine, we wore our masks, we worked for our current situation. Our actions are what allowed Governor Abbott to eliminate the mask requirements in the first place, so why deny us our normalcy now? Furthermore, if the masks were not enough to protect us last year, and the Delta variant affects vaccinated individuals, why promote the continuation of in-person learning? As of now we are back at square one. Clearly these methods were ineffective before so why not try something new?


The more our situation develops, the more I’m starting to believe the response to COVID-19 is not based in the facts that keep us safe, but rather in what aligns with the opinions of our superiors. 


Update: At the time of publication there was no end date listed for the mask requirement. The district listed the estimated end date yesterday for Sept. 10, 2021.