School Goes Mask-Optional

Andy Judlowe, News Editor

On March 3, school principal Bo Lauder announced that as of Tuesday, March 8, students and faculty would no longer be required to wear masks on campus. The school made this change along with government guidance, as New York State lifted the school mask mandate on March 2 and Mayor Eric Adams followed, deciding that New York City public school students may go maskless on March 8. 


The administration justified the change in an email to parents, citing New York City’s positive test rate of under two percent – the lowest it has been since the beginning of the pandemic. The administration explained that throughout the pandemic, the school has “always relied on careful consideration of the same science and data when reaching our own decisions,” and that this decision is no different. 


The administration elaborated in the email that lifting the mask policy the week before spring break offered benefits, as it provided a “trial period wherein we will watch closely for areas of concern that may require some revision.” Since many families planned to travel during the break, increasing their risk of contracting COVID-19, the school also specified that all students would be required to test before returning after break. 


Almost two years since Friends’ initial closure at the start of the pandemic, the end of the mandatory mask policy is an inspiring sign of the pandemic’s end, a long-awaited step toward returning to normalcy.