Mask Off?


Surpassing one year since the corona virus lockdown opens the gateway for a flood of other impending anniversaries. Perhaps the most visible is that America has spent almost twelve months hiding our smiles and noses behind masks. 


For the majority of the pandemic, masks have not only been important to community safety, but also mandated in almost every state by its governor. However, as vaccination rates rise, especially among the vulnerable communities we have been working to protect, some states have begun to lift their ordinances, leaving wearing a face covering up to personal discretion. 


Here in Tennessee, several counties have chosen to lift their mask mandates in recent weeks, posing the question of when masks will no longer be required on our own Hutchinson campus. 


As a new student, I’m looking forward to when masks can safely come off. I have yet to see the bottom half of my classmates’ faces, and consequently have an impossible time recognizing Hutchison students and teachers.


I spoke with the assistant head of school, Mrs. Nair, regarding the future of masks on campus. As far as a timeline, when I asked if Hutchison has a plan for eventually lifting their mask mandate, she responded that “[Hutchison] follows the CDC and shelby county guidelines.” Mrs. Nair continued that “as [The Shelby County Health Department] eases up, we’ll ease up.”


At this point in time, there does not seem to be any contingency on students being vaccinated before the rules are relaxed, but that could definitely change. Nair stated that, “the Hutchison policies will go along with whatever the recommendation is regarding vaccination coming from the CDC.”


Currently masks are required at all times other than participating in athletic activities or eating and drinking, but progress towards personal choice is on the horizon.