The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

Prevent the Spread

Punahou students are currently allowed to go without masks outdoors.
Punahou students are currently allowed to go without masks outdoors.

Although the mask mandate for Oahu has been lifted in outdoor areas, most indoor restaurants, and public places, Punahou has yet to do so in our own classrooms for the safety of its faculty and students.

It has been quite a shock to see more than the eyes on a fellow student’s face. However, it is not the sight of the lower half of my classmate’s face that makes me uncomfortable, rather it is the idea of bacteria and germs traveling through the air with nothing blocking their path.

While the cases of COVID-19 had significantly dropped since the beginning of 2022, they have started to increase once again. On March 1, 2022, Eugene Shapiro, MD, a Yale Medicine pediatric infectious disease specialist predicted something like this would happen:  “Right now, the incidence of disease is going down, but in a month and half, it might go back up,” he said.

Some students have expressed gratitude that we are at a point to even be considering dropping the mask mandate in school. However, they don’t fail to acknowledge that COVID-19 still exists.

“I think that the mask mandate dropping is somewhat of a good thing. It means that the cases are beginning to drop and the vaccines are working. However, I am concerned that the cases will begin to rise shortly after the end of the mask mandate,” said Shayna Suzuki ‘22.

I would have to agree. Constantly being around those more susceptible to the virus has embedded a permanent sense of worry and caution into my mind. Many students at Punahou agree with this point and expressed concerns regarding the potential end of the mask mandate indoors.

Skyler Recel-Chang ‘23 said, “I think I would feel more concerned if the mask mandate dropped indoors. At present, it is best to err on the side of caution in indoor spaces where the disease is more susceptible to spread. As for mask mandates at school, I think that Punahou shouldn’t consider dropping them indoors until the 2022-2023 school year to ensure that there isn’t a resurgence of cases before the next school year where conditions might improve.”

Punahou’s Pandemic Response Team has done an excellent job in taking all the precautions possible to keep the students and faculty safe. The administration has recognized that despite the recent drop in COVID-19 cases on the island, the disease is still relevant and contagious.

“I think it’s good that Punahou is requiring masks indoors because it decreases the chances of a bunch of students getting sick and having a chunk of the student body be absent for an extended period of time. I know everyone wants to be as close to ‘back to normal’ as possible, but I still think it’s important for people to be careful so as not to get themselves or anyone else sick,” Marlie Asato ‘23 added.

Researchers affiliated with Stanford Medicine and Yale University conducted a trial on September 1, 2021, which ultimately proved that wearing surgical or other effective masks over both one’s nose and mouth was successful in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, certain face masks such as the KN95 are effective in filtering the airborne particles many of us are worried about. A recent study by the CDC tested whether the use of masks lowered the odds of testing positive. The study concluded that the cloth mask lowered the risk of contracting COVID-19 by 56%, surgical masks by 66%, and respirators by 83%.

Whether you are indoors or outdoors, the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 will be significantly reduced when wearing a proper, protective mask. I, for one, must always be careful about who I am around. I visit my grandparents every week, and we don’t stay six feet apart, so there is no question that I need to be especially careful. As an athlete who plays a physical, contact sport, and a social person, it is hard to totally isolate myself. So, when I have the opportunity to protect myself in the best way possible, I do so without a second thought.

Keeping in mind that students sit within one foot of their fellow classmates for a prolonged period of time, Punahou has made the smart decision to enforce the use of masks in classrooms. Punahou is looking out for their students and faculty, while keeping in mind that every student is in a different situation.

I applaud the Pandemic Response Team for their efforts and smart decisions that do not create any known disadvantages for us. Keeping us safe is the least that Punahou can do.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All Ka Punahou Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *