on the temporary mask mandate

Two weeks after the lifting of the mask mandate, Columbia Public Schools (CPS) has temporarily issued it back into order, beginning Tuesday, Jan. 18 until Feb. 4. The reinstitution of the mask mandate is in response to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Boone County because of the Omicron variant.

Absences have increased greatly in the past week, affecting teachers and students and causing sub shortages. The mask mandate is being put back in place in hopes to flatten the curve of the virus and stabilize the district long enough for teachers to return en masse.

After two weeks of optional masking, RBHS students share their feelings on the renewed mask mandate.

I think that [masks] do a lot of good, but I think that they are also really annoying. Because, I understand why we need them, you know, there is a new [COVID-19] variant and I think if we were to use them then we can protect ourselves from that new variant.

— Tristan Morris, freshman

It makes sense because the cases are rising, and I understand why its coming back and I’m fine with it. Wearing a mask isn’t a big hindrance to me in my lifestyle. School is actually really the only place I wear a mask and other public spaces like at a grocery store if I’m not around anyone I won’t wear one, but since cases are rising it might change.

— Ruby Hord, sophomore


I’m kind of neutral about [the mandate returning], like when they got rid of it, it didn’t really affect me as much. But now there’s a spike and I think people should be wearing masks. I’m not going to outwardly say ‘Oh you should be wearing your masks.’ But I feel better with them putting mask mandates back because of the new spike and the Omicron [variant.]

— Zen McMurray

I think [the returning mandate] is the right idea. I saw a lot of parents pull their kids out of school and kindergarten especially in lower grades. I think the numbers in Boone county are as high as they have ever been right now, so I think it makes sense and I think it’s the right move.

— Noah Robinson, senior


How do you feel about the temporary return of the mask mandate? Let us know in the comments below.