Blue Valley Board of Education votes to lift the mask mandate at the high school level

Masking will be optional for students and staff in the high school buildings starting Nov. 29.

Ashley Adams, Writer

The Blue Valley Board of Education voted 6-1 in favor of making masks optional for students grades 9-12 on Nov. 8. According to Blue Valley, this decision was based on both a low level of spread and a large number of students being vaccinated. The mask mandate will officially be lifted beginning Nov. 29.

Despite this change, some restrictions will still apply. Students in grades Kindergarten through eighth and anyone riding in a district vehicle are still required to wear a mask. But, as long as the positive COVID-19 case numbers from high school students does not exceed three percent, mask requirement in school will remain optional for grades 9 and above. 

Blue Valley has stated the safety of students and staff are a top priority, and that it is their commitment to uphold this promise. Junior Claire Doherty disagrees with this and said she feels the optional masking was a hasty decision made by the BOE which may result in steps in the wrong direction.

“It’s too soon… Cases will only go back up if we don’t wear masks,” Doherty said. “We could end up losing activities, and potentially go back online if the cases start to rise again.”  

On the other hand, some students see the lifting of the mandate as a cause to celebrate. Junior Julie Dean said she is happy about the BOE’s decision, since the mandate has been in effect since Sept. 2020.

“I think forcing people to wear masks violates freedoms, and people do always still have a choice to keep wearing their mask,” Dean said.

Dean said contracting the COVID-19 virus is not a worry for her.

“I’m not concerned [for myself or family] but for those that are, they can always still wear their mask,” Dean said. 

As Blue Valley has stated it is important to them that they are able to keep students in-person, they will be continuing to be monitoring the COVID-19 data. BVNW news will update this story as it progresses.