Masks In School: Briar Woods Opinions


Ryan Peele, Reporter

After a Loudoun County judge approved an injunction by three concerned parents, the mask mandate in LCPS schools was immediately nullified, and students could go maskless beginning February 17th, eleven days before the entire state of Virginia ended the mandate. Since then, many students and teachers alike have been embracing the termination of the mandate, while others continue to wear masks out of caution, skeptical that the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t reached its end. 

In the weeks since the end of the mandate, more and more students and staff have gradually stopped wearing their masks, emboldened as the stigma and shock of seeing the lower halves of peers’ faces faded away. Still, the school seems to be starkly divided between being masked or maskless, something that is clear to see just by looking in a classroom or walking through a crowded hallway. According to a poll of around 100 LCPS students, almost 80% still choose to wear masks in school. 

After multiple brief endings to COVID restrictions, which were ruined by rapid upsurges in new variants such as Delta and Omicron, many Briar Woods students are unsure whether it is truly safe to go maskless or if another COVID spike is inevitable. Some are concerned not just for themselves, but for others that are more vulnerable. 

“Well [I wear a mask] mostly for my dad because he had a liver surgery and now his immune system is bad,” said sophomore Anirudh Repalli, “Also, I don’t feel safe just yet not wearing a mask. And I don’t think I will stop [wearing a mask] unless COVID cases completely stop.” 

“I choose to wear a mask because even though cases have gone down, COVID is still a thing. I don’t want to put anyone who’s high risk at danger even if there’s a decreased chance of catching it or spreading it. Once COVID is just not a thing anymore I’ll stop wearing my mask. I’m not sure exactly when that’ll be,” said sophomore Grace Bradbury.

Still, students who don masks at Briar Woods hope that COVID declines enough to the point at which they feel safe not wearing a mask. 

“I really don’t want to get [COVID] because I don’t want to quarantine and not be able to go to school and lose track of my assignments. I might [stop wearing my mask] if less and less people wear it,” said an anonymous freshman.

Still, many Briar Woods students have grown tired of constant, irritating mask-wearing and have decided that the risk of COVID is negligible. 

“I used to wear mine until this week because I forgot it at home on Monday, and I was like whatever I don’t really care anymore,” said an anonymous junior.

Others are even doubtful of the positive impact of masks, saying that they might be ineffective or even detrimental to wearers.

“I felt as if they didn’t prevent anything from spreading,” said junior Yahaira Arriaza, “My sister got COVID-19 on the week of winter break even though she was wearing her mask. When wearing a mask, all the effects go to the brain and it makes a person deprived. We don’t get as much air as we are needed to due to the fact that we have masks covering our mouth and nose, which is not allowing us to breathe freely. It causes oxygen deficiency and dizziness. We are intoxicating ourselves with carbon dioxide.”

Regardless of your opinion on the topic, it’s important to get the viewpoints of Briar Woods students to create a dialogue and better understanding. This debate over mask-wearing in Briar Woods will likely rage on for the rest of the school year, and may even continue into next fall, depending on how the COVID pandemic goes. Whether you wear or don’t wear a mask, it’s important to at least tolerate the personal choices of others and do what you think is best.