Opposition to the Mask Mandate — OPINION

Why I chose to remote learn during ACSD’s 30-day mask mandate.


Allison Berryhill

The ACSD board implemented a 30-day mask mandate. Students were encouraged to wear masks during the school day before the mandate, but it was not required.

Zane Berg, Staff Writer

The Atlantic Community District School Board issued a mask mandate on October 22, 2020, as I am sure you are all aware. Here’s why I think this is wrong. 

People would agree that cloth masks do not work as well as surgical masks or N95 masks. Cloth masks can actually lead to a higher rate of infection, according to a study1 cited by the CDC. In comparing types of masks, people wearing cloth masks had an “increased risk of infection” over people wearing other masks, and even people that didn’t wear masks most of the time.

However, the school will gladly hand out cloth masks to seem as if they are doing something helpful when they might actually be hurting us.

Given that most of us have masks that may or may not work, it makes sense that students should have the choice to wear a mask if they want to. I get that some people want that safe feeling, which is totally fine. You could take a more drastic approach also, and move to online schooling if you still felt uncomfortable or unsafe. That way people who want to be safe can be and people who want to be back to normal can do that. This seems like the best option for maximum safety and freedom of every student, right? Then why didn’t the school board implement it? 

It’s because the school board didn’t mandate masks for our safety. It did so to deny liability if someone dies. The chances of someone under 18 dying of corona is laughably small. In the United States, without accounting for age, misreporting, or preexisting conditions, you get a 2.4% mortality rate. Nothing to scoff at, but once you only count all deaths from 29 and under, you get a measly .04%. 

This comes to one death for every 2,500 people under 29 contracting the virus, without preexisting conditions factored in. There is very little chance that someone at our school will ever die from coronavirus in the next 10 years. So why would the school force us to wear masks that don’t work, and for a disease that won’t kill us?2

This chart shows the numbers that the mortality rate was calculated from. I used the formula (deaths/cases) to calculate the mortality rate. The charts show how nonlethal it is for people under the age of 40. (CDC, 2020)

Given the low risk to us youngsters, (.04% if you didn’t remember) why wouldn’t we go out and get the coronavirus and get those antibodies in our blood and build some immunity to it, so if we do encounter it later in life, we can fight it off easier? I understand that it won’t be exactly like chickenpox, where you only get it once and you’re good, but it sure would help at least a little. Given that it is a “new” virus, we have no solid evidence on how long our resistance to the disease could be; however, even if it is for a few months, wouldn’t that be a few months of normalcy, at the very least?

Lastly, the school board could’ve implemented so many other solutions to their problem and could have gotten the effect they wanted, which was not getting sued for millions of dollars. They could’ve utilized the gym and the multipurpose room as classrooms. They also could have gone to a hybrid situation. They could have normalized online learning and kept those in online learning involved with their classmates. They could have lengthened the distance between desks to 6’ apart and sent a rotating group of students out to the commons to learn online. 

In short, the masks that the school gives out, and the only ones commonly available do not work, and coronavirus isn’t as lethal as you thought. I ask the school board to reconsider their decision on the mask mandate, even on the temporary one, due to an overwhelming amount of evidence that they have made the wrong decision, not just for themselves, but for the students as well.  


My sources, for all you fact-checkers out there:

1:Study. Cited by the CDC here

2: Chose 29 and under to factor in teachers, to more accurately represent our district. Under 18 the mortality rate drops to 1 in 10,000, or .01%. The numbers were calculated from here.