As in-person school commences, school district announces new mask regulations


Saydria Ostler

New mask regulations are still in place for freshmen Nadia Shovkovy, Olivia May, Jessica Nguyen, Peyton Jakowinicz, McKenzie Butler, and Mackenzie Long during after-school hours. Students who do not cooperate with the recent regulations will receive disciplinary action.

As of Dec 18, the board for the Chandler Unified School District changed their guidelines for acceptable face masks. 

According to the CUSD website, this update requires anyone on campus to use a mask that “completely cover[s your] nose and mouth and fit[s] snugly against the sides of your face without gaps.  Face shields are no longer accepted.” This means that traditional face masks with the ear straps and gaitors, the masks that go around the neck and are pulled up over the nose are allowed. However, other coverings, such as face shields and bandannas are not sufficient alone. These standards also extend to student athletes, and any fans in the stands at sporting events. 

Principal Dan Serrano oversees overseeing the new mandate on campus. He said, “The mandate from the district is really straightforward. It has to cover the mouth and the nose and be tight across your face. My job is to follow the direction of the school board, so that’s what we’re doing… the district… made it very specific; this is what it is.” The new standards draw a clear line for what constitutes a mask. This allows everyone to better understand the expectations that are set for them. Some students in the special education program cannot wear masks due to tolerance, sensitivity issues, medical and safety concerns, and other restrictions. Self-contained special education teacher Jennifer Blackwell stated, “I have a few [students] who can’t wear masks due to medical issues. But we’ve been on campus wearing [masks] since the beginning…It’s the new normal for them.” These students with the specific issues have a signed doctor’s note excusing them from wearing a standard mask. All other students follow the mask guidelines. 

The health office has dealt with a variety of different coronavirus related issues during the pandemic. Nurse Juleen Barth said, “People have been compliant in wearing their masks. In the health office, you have to have it over your mouth and nose to come in here.” She continued to elaborate that, “If any employee was wearing a shield before, they are now wearing masks, so we haven’t had any issues in the office.” Students and faculty who have used face shields or bandanas in the past have transitioned to using masks appropriate to the new regulations. 

Serrano said that when students refuse to wear an appropriate mask, teachers should, “just send them down to the office and write a referral.” If students do not comply with the new mask regulations, Serrano said, “We call the kid down, and we warn them and call their parents. If they don’t comply there could be some discipline. We don’t want to go that far. Kids at this school are good kids.” The new mask protocol is straight-forward. Serrano said that there was some confusion on the first day back about the new mask regulations, but that it has not been a need for any disciplinary action.