Community Commends Mask Mandate


Tara Singh, Features Editor

After a tumultuous year and a half of virtual learning, the Friends Seminary  administration announced in July that the coming school year would resume full time in-person classes and sports. While classrooms are no longer socially distanced, the community is required to wear masks at all times on campus due to state regulations and the ongoing presence of COVID-19. Additionally, students aged twelve and older are required to be fully vaccinated. During outdoor sports events, players are permitted to remove their masks; however, indoor sports require masks. As students and faculty return to campus, the community has been tasked with adapting to new processes and requirements to ensure safety.  

Before the school year commenced, the administration collaborated with new nurse Tyler Troppmann to create guidelines according to the Department of Health and Center for Disease Control. Blair Parker, the new Head of Upper School, described the administration’s reasoning regarding the mask and vaccination policies. Parker said the administration is “Wanting to do all we can to keep everyone safe, particularly when we have most of grades K through six unvaccinated.” Parker expressed her support for the policies in place, saying, “I think it’s the masks and the vaccinations. Together they’ve allowed us to be back at school, and we’re happy to be back at school.”

Parker is not alone in her support of the mask and vaccination mandates: students agree with the administration’s policies. Theo Maniatis ‘24 said, “It’s keeping us safe and if it keeps us safe, it means that in the long term we can go back to school normally.” The Friends community has also been able to resume activities such as sports, playing instruments, and singing with the addition of masks. “We really are able to do everything with them on,” Parker said. 

Students have also been commended for their compliance with the mandate. Arisa Tyler ‘24 said, “There’s been a couple instances where people are eating and then they forget about their masks but other than that people are adhering to the masking policy.” 

Avery Gallistel ‘24 agrees with Tyler, saying, “Overall I think students are complying with the mask mandate and respect it. I appreciate the teachers who remind students to put their masks up to make school a safer environment.”  

Students also described the aspects of in-person school they miss due to masks. Maniatis ‘24 said, “It’s hard to relate to kids when there are masks over their faces because a main way to communicate with people is reading facial expressions.” 

Blair Parker also expressed the difficulties of recognizing masked students, “especially as a new person to the community who wants to know the names of all 299 Upper School students.”

Whatever drawbacks they may present, the community agrees that the safety provided by wearing masks ultimately outweighs any downsides. Students are optimistic and looking forward to a future of performing activities while being able to see their peers and teachers safely without masks.