On Wednesday, February 16, members of Concord Academy’s COVID-19 task force announced that CA would be moving masks optional starting the following day. This abrupt announcement left many unsure of how they would move forward at school. Although COVID cases have been rapidly declining in Concord, many students wish that the announcement to go mask optional had been given farther in advance of Thursday.
There is no doubt that moving mask optional was bound to happen and the decision made sense with CA’s low COVID cases recently, but what caused the most stress for students was the lack of time for preparation and consideration about how they and their families would adapt to this new change. It would have been a much more frictionless transition to mask optional if the community was given a heads up to the change, at least a week in advance. For the past two years, the usage of masks has been rooted in daily life and has almost become second nature for us. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that many of us cannot simply flip a switch and become comfortable without the very masks that we have grown reliant on.
For some boarding students, the decision to keep their masks on is out of concern for their safety, rather than struggling to adapt to the new rules. For boarders like Christian Setalsingh-Nazaire ’23, the mask optional change has raised some red flags. “As boarders we’ve always had to be a little bit more cautious about the COVID spread, especially from day students. But my hope is that if students can continue to wear their masks outside of school, then this community has a great chance to continue staying safe from COVID.”