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What Do Baltimore City College Students Think of Masks Being Optional?

After nearly two years of wearing masks daily, Baltimore City College, like many other schools, has made masks optional. From walking the hallways, I know that most students still keep their masks on. But why? So, I curiously reached out to teachers across all grade levels who then directed a survey that I made to their students. The results of my survey came back with students having varied opinions on the mask mandate. 

I began my survey by asking people whether they wore their masks or not, and I got 63 responses to that question, from a wide range of grades, genders, and races. Of the 63 who responded, 56 said they wear their masks, two said they don’t, and five said they sometimes do. To follow up on the previous questions, I asked why students do or do not wear a mask. About half of the students said they wore their masks to protect themselves and others living with them. A handful said they’re just used to wearing them and feel more comfortable still doing so. Furthermore, five students said they only wore masks because of the social pressure they felt since few students have decided to be maskless. Some said they didn’t have a reason to wear one, they just did. 

Another aspect that I was curious about was if students wore masks during after-school activities. When asked if students wore their masks during after-school activities, I received 47 responses. Out of the 47 students, 22 said they do, 18 said they don’t, and seven said they sometimes do. Some students who do after-school activities said that they take off their masks depending on how many people are around. The most common responses I got for why students don’t wear their masks during after-school activities is that the groups are smaller and they’re in open spaces. The students who do sports added that since vaccines are a requirement for sports they feel comfortable not wearing masks. Additionally, with temperatures rising outside, students have found it harder to breathe while playing their sport in a mask. So, many have opted to remove it during their practices. 

I also wanted to know what students thought of people who wear and don’t wear their masks. Around 50 of the 60 students who responded to this question said they don’t care if other students wear a mask or not. Some added that they don’t care unless their visibility is coughing or symptomatic, and in that case, they should wear one. The other 10 said they felt uncomfortable with the students who are maskless. When asked what students thought of people who do wear their masks, about half of the 60 said they didn’t care. The other half thanked their peers and agreed with them to wear their masks. 

Lastly, a couple of students added that they want Covid to be over, and I couldn’t agree with them more!

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