COVID-19. Covid. The Pandemic. Whatever you want to call it. As our lives have been slowly returning to normal, there are a lot of questions about the near future. With multiple vaccines rolling out and the new Delta variant, sometimes it’s hard to know what’s best for our community. Some counties have brought back mask mandates and some haven’t, so where does Marist stand?
As most within the school community know, Marist has decided that masks are optional for those who are fully vaccinated, but how did they come to that decision? According to a statement Marist made in a letter to the parents before school started, their main priority is to protect the school, noting that “we all have a role to play in providing for the health and safety of our community.” Respecting families’ choice whether to vaccinate their students, the school implemented the policy that unvaccinated individuals must wear a mask on campus.
That said, all students, regardless of vaccination status, still need to wear masks at large gatherings like assemblies or busses. Refusal to wear a mask could result in a “disciplinary consequence.” It is important to note that some people on campus cannot be vaccinated. Some middle schoolers and those in the ELC are not yet old enough to be vaccinated, while others may have been advised by their doctor not to receive the jab.
One of the main differences between this year and last year is the return to fully in-person learning. While Marist aims to keep as many kids as possible on campus this year, administrators said that they will be flexible with their policies this year and adapt when needed. Tactics such as contact tracing and social distancing are still being used at school to prevent spreading.
The Center for Disease Control does encourage people to get the vaccine and/or to wear a mask to protect others. They do specify, however, that masks are generally not needed for outdoor settings and activities. As a general rule of thumb, the CDC recommends that people wash their hands often and wear a mask over their mouths and noses. Overall, it looks like we are aiming to have a very successful academic year in front of us.