Say Goodbye to the Mask Mandate


Mr. Quinn’s sophomore Honors American Literature class is engaging in its first unmasked harkness discussion about the Great Gatsby! Photo credits to Grace Koch

Grace Koch '24, News Editor

After a long two years, the SLC is filled with unmasked laughter once again. Adapting to the updated CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19, governor Carney declared that the mask mandate for schools was lifted at 6:00pm on March 1, 2022. Though Carney asks that those who still wish to wear a mask “should be supported and encouraged to do so, even as we move into this new phase,” masks are no longer required in schools. 

In accordance with this lifted mandate, Archmere Academy is no longer requiring masks for students and staff. Echoing the words of governor Carney, Principal Thiel urges her students to support each other, regardless of whether or not they choose to wear a mask. In her weekly Friday letter, she wrote “especially over the past couple months, we have proven that our community can mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19… we are truly optimistic about the remaining school year ahead and look forward to a productive end to the second semester.”

While students differ in their decisions to wear or remove their masks, the general consensus is that students are “excited to get back to normal, though it feels weird because we have been wearing masks for the past two years,” according to Ella Strohmaier ‘24 and Elizabeth Maher ‘24. Student Council President Nate Yanick ‘22 feels “happy that our senior class will experience our final months at the Academy in a normal environment, with school activities back to how they were before ‘rona.” Reasons for abstaining from mask-wearing include seeing peoples’ smiles and being able to breathe better, according to Maddie Priest ‘24, and Juilan Faciolo ‘23, respectively. This has been, however, a large adjustment.

While many students choose to unmask, a substantial percentage of students chose to keep their masks on. Many have personal reasons for keeping their masks on, like “chapped lips,” according to a source who wishes to remain anonymous. On a more serious note, masks have proved effective for warding off COVID-19 and other illnesses in the past and continue to do so. 

According to Katie Anthony ‘24, many students are still wearing masks because the Archmere community has not “had to deal with the cold or flu recently, and we’ve been seeing a lot of people going out with the cold or flu, so I’m keeping myself and others safe.” Katie did not realize how right she was. 

Though many lost their masks, they have gained something in return: seasonal illness, commonly referred to as the “Archmere Plague.” The combination of our weakened immune systems and the transition to spring have given way to illnesses spreading throughout the Archmere community like kool aid powder in a pitcher of water. A double-whammy, students have been hit by both a stomach bug and flu-like cold. In my search for wisdom, I happened upon Mr. Nowaczyk who says, “it has been normal for students to get sick during the start of spring sports.” He believes that this is one of the steps back to normal we have been aiming for the past two years. Mr. Nowaczyk advises students to “just get better.” 

With the more prevalent sickness, Nurse Hendrixson “hopes in the future people will be considerate of others and be comfortable enough to wear their masks in schools and church and the grocery store” if they are feeling ill. Archmere community: take advice from these wise adults and stay healthy.