Lifted state mask mandate, vaccine lead to new change


With the mask mandate for Arizona being lifted by Governor Doug Ducey, Arizonans and students alike are split on the decision whether or not to continue wearing masks. While some businesses are still independently requiring masks, EOS Fitness and Oregano’s, are leaving the option open to customers. Even more pressing to students is the availability to minors over 16 to be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine as of last week on Mar. 21, 2021.

Being a politically charged topic, in a population of over 3000 students with a range of 6 critical and diverse ages (13-18), students have a plethora of different opinions regarding the vaccines and masks. In a survey conducted to mainly upperclassmen (those available to receive the vaccine), students were asked if they would get a form of the COVID-19 vaccine at some point. While 31% were unsure, almost 12% said they would not receive a vaccine. When asked if they would receive the vaccine if it were to be required for in-person school, 83% of students said they would get the vaccine. 

In order to make decisions in a world of convoluted and conflicting concepts, senior Killian Marksberry said, “I like to look at both sides… whenever I see something I disagree with, I’ll look at it and read through it… I don’t want to be one of those people that only looks at my side.”

Marksberry explains his rationality for taking the road less traveled to not be vaccinated and said, “[the vaccine] it’s something that’s experimental. It was rushed out, so it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad, but I’m going to wait and see.” 

Out of many options, such as parents’ preference, travelling, job requirements, etc., the majority of students said if they were to get the vaccine it would be in order to either keep their family safe or to go to in-person school. 

Senior Amie Faulkner reflects on her reasoning on having received her first round of the Pfizer vaccination. Faulkner said that “Just trying to move on and get back to how things used to be,” motivated her to get the vaccine. 

As for the thoughts on continuing or not continuing to wear masks, 20% of students say that they will not wear their masks if it is not required. In majorly divisive results, the majority, being 26% of students, say that they will continue to wear masks until the federal government makes them optional. 

Faulkner said that she will continue to wear masks “until there’s at least 80 to 90% of the population with the vaccine.” Other students place their input, one saying that they will wear their mask unless everyone around them is vaccinated while 12% of the surveyed population says they will go mask-free now that the mandate is lifted. 

While the rest of the world continues to create constant changes in lifestyle and ideas, both Marksberry and Faulkner agree that their life from day to day is not likely to change significantly since access to a vaccine and a repealed mask mandate.