BREAKING NEWS: CPS to lift mask mandate

Masks will be optional in CPS starting Monday 


Names with * next to them have been changed to protect students’ identities

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced today that starting on Monday, March 14, masks will be optional in all CPS schools.

A number of Jones students disagree with the decision. Sophie Nunziati ‘23 said the mask-optional policy makes her nervous and that she will continue to wear a mask. 

“I’m more relaxed because I feel like at Jones, people are better about wearing masks, but I know that at my brother’s school there are many people who are more anti-mask and aren’t as COVID-cautious,” said Nunziati.

David Luna ‘23, however, supports the new policy and believes masks should have been made optional months ago. 

“Honestly, I was ready to pull off this mask the moment it reached two weeks after my second [vaccine] dose,” said Luna. “So I’m just kind of happy.”

Bethany Randal* ‘23 is also excited to have the option to be mask-free.

“I would just say it’s kind of nice not having to wear a mask in school, especially at Jones. Having to walk up the stairs with a mask is kind of not it sometimes.”

However, Randal said she might opt to wear a mask at school in certain situations. 

“I think it depends on what class I’m in and the teachers. I think I’ll bring masks to school, but I don’t necessarily know if I’m going to wear them,” said Randal. 

Andrea Palafox ‘22, however, said she would feel unsafe if other students took off their masks.

“I would feel a bit uncomfortable, but it’s not like I’m going to tell them that. You know, it’s optional,” said Palafox.

Ashley Taylor Bernard-Clark ‘23 is concerned for the safety of family members when the mask-optional policy goes into effect. 

“I think it’s a little too soon. I know the state’s doing it, but I mean, looking around this classroom right now, we’re all still in pretty close proximity, so it’s definitely making me a little nervous,” said Bernard Clark.

Luna said his own vaccination status and his assumption that most Jones students are vaccinated makes him feel comfortable enough to shed his mask this coming Monday. 

“Probably most of the students here are vaccinated and I’m not threatened,” said Luna. “Because I have my vaccination, it doesn’t matter [to me ] if you’re vaccinated or not.”

Randal said she doesn’t feel schools pose a significant risk to students and, like Luna-Pascuna, feels that her vaccination offers adequate protection against COVID-19.

“Because I’m only sitting by [unmasked students] for an hour and a half, I’m not going to get as much contact. I’m not going to catch COVID-19 as quickly,” said Randal. I’m also vaccinated and boosted so I feel like I have a lower chance of getting it.”