Ward Melville Students and the Struggle With Face Masks


Photo courtesy of Xingyue Huang at Unsplash.com

Lauren Scisci, Staff Writer

Masks have played an important role in stopping the spread of COVID-19. New York State has implemented a mask mandate for all staff and students within the state, but what is Ward Melville doing to keep up with such a simple rule? 

I started my first year at Ward Melville in 2020 being squished in cramped hallways with hundreds of other kids I didn’t know and seeing hundreds of faces I didn’t seem to recognize. Dozens of positive coronavirus cases seemed to be piling up at the end of each week from multiple buildings in the district. Many students had to get their education disrupted by going virtual for two weeks if exposed to COVID-19. 

I can say positively that last year was the worst school year I have ever experienced in my entire school career. Everyone appeared lost and confused. Many didn’t even know how to wear a mask properly. 

Even while living at the height of the pandemic in 2020, Ward Melville students seemed to lack the basic comprehension of anatomical knowledge to know how to wear a mask correctly. Students either wear them below their noses or mouths, around their chin or not at all. I have witnessed multiple students walk into this building in the morning with no sign of a mask on their faces and continue in this condition for the rest of the day.

To make things worse, most of the Ward Melville staff don’t seem to have that big of a problem with the students breaking state mandates.

All of the teachers and instructors I have seen here wear their masks above their mouth AND nose, but the response by students to these rules is extremely embarrassing. Many of my own teachers do a great job to follow these rules themselves, but the consistency of them having to ask the same students to follow the rules time and time again should be fixed. Even my teachers are sick and tired of asking the same students to wear their masks, openly expressing their disappointment to the class. 

Principal Bernhard has come onto the loudspeaker and announced that it is extremely important for students to wear their masks above their nose in addition to wearing them above their mouths, but the rules don’t seem to be enforced or followed despite the multiple statements.

I appreciate the awareness and the ability to recognize an ongoing problem that our school faces, but I take a quick glance at my peers around me in my classes and see that over half of them in most of my classes are not wearing their masks properly. This needs to be fixed.

In conclusion, I kindly ask you, a fellow student at Ward Melville, to please wear that mask of yours properly. I promise you that people can still hear what you’re saying and it won’t damage your breathing. If the whole world can do it, so can you.