By Michele FarFan
The emergence of new COVID-19 variants caused Saint Thomas Aquinas to adopt new mask rules in early January. The outbreak of the Omicron variant brought a drastic increase in infection rates. Previous STA protocol allowed students to opt out of wearing a mask if they were fully vaccinated or had submitted parental consent on an opt-out form. The new rules required everyone to wear a mask during class regardless of their vaccination status.
The ¨Omicron mask rule¨ was lifted after a memorandum in late January. A drop in local infection rates caused school officials to loosen restraints and return to the procedures that had been established in the latter portion of 2021. Students meeting the criteria for “mask optional” status may now, once again, enter their classrooms without a mask. Some students have not been affected by this new mask rule while others seem to be jumping with joy. This is what Gabriella Orett, a 9th grade student at STA, had to say, “The new mask rule being lifted does not affect me in any way.¨
School officials will continue to monitor the pandemic and make decisions with the health and safety of the STA community in mind. STA will do the best they can with keeping our school as safe as possible. Everyone is still free to wear a mask if they don’t feel comfortable. Sofie Fonseca a 9th grader at STA said ¨I am glad STA is taking the right precautions for the health and safety of the students.¨
(Photo Credit: Good Housekeeping)