Minnesota’s executive mask order visible in halls, classes

Statistics+pulled+from+studies+conducted+by+UC+Davis+and+USC.+Minnesota+information+found+on+State+Department+website+and+national+death+number+given+courtesy+of+CNN.+%28Thomas+Reinhart%29

Zadie Martin

Statistics pulled from studies conducted by UC Davis and USC. Minnesota information found on State Department website and national death number given courtesy of CNN. (Thomas Reinhart)

Zadie Martin, Staff Writer

Upper school students have adjusted school life around Governor Walz executive mask order and other coronavirus related regulations.
Amanda Beaudoin, an epidemiologist from the Minnesota Department of Health said she believes masks are lowering the spread of COVID-19.
The mask order states that Minnesotans must wear face coverings in a public indoor space and indoor business settings. Face coverings include cloth masks, neck gaiters, scarfs, bandanas, religious face coverings. Although face coverings are mandatory, it’s not required to wear a mask in an outdoor public space (where you can remain socially distanced) or while playing sports it’s strongly encouraged.

The school policy doesn’t allow bandanas or neck gaiters, which have been proven to be less effective filters.

“I have been really impressed with students wearing masks,” Design and Innovation Specialist Kirstin Hoogenakker. “At least the students that I interacted with have been really respectful of the mask policy.”

Students have remained deferential to the policy, and the school has not needed to constantly remind students or wear masks or punish them.

Beaudoin stands by the executive order and the school’s policy. “We can’t expect people to do the right thing all the time, but particularly in times like right now,” she said. Still, “ we’re seeing more and more cases. [and] I think having a reminder would be a good idea … [but] we don’t need to be fining people, certainly not doing anything that would put something on their record.”

Aten-Wa Theba said masks have made sports slightly more challenging due to the reduced amount of air when you breathe in, but nothing harming or restricting.

“We can’t expect people to do the right thing all the time.””

— Amanda Beaudoin

There have been modifications made for people who are unable to wear masks, such as people with medical conditions, disabilities, or mental, developmental, or behavioral challenges or those unable to take off the mask by themselves. For example, allowing individuals to take off masks in certain areas for mask breaks.

Beaudoin also said that while she doesn’t agree with how people are protesting mask use, she understands their desire to make themselves heard. However, she does not agree with the way they are going about it. She explains that not wearing a mask is a major threat to other people around you.

Remembering to wear a mask has been easy during school, as well as in sports settings, according to Ingrid Johnson from the cross country team. “We only have to wear them when we’re done with intervals,” Johnson said.

Johnson believes that masks are lowering the rate of COVID-19 and that the current repercussions that are being enforced are sufficient. Johnson also said in outdoor spaces masks are not needed as long as you are socially distanced.

Senior Anja Trierweiler agrees with Johnson. She believes that masks are, in fact, lowering the spread of coronavirus, and following the guidelines is very easy. She also mentions that being forced to wear masks acts as a reminder to others about the situation we are in, and how it should be taken seriously.

Trierweiler said that it would only be okay to remove your mask outside and significantly more than six feet apart. She states that even in the lunchroom, she does not feel comfortable because of the lack of masks.

On the other hand, Will Black, who is on the hockey and baseball teams, doesn’t think that masks are helping stunt the spread of the virus. He also believes there should be no repercussions for those not wearing face coverings.

The full school policy can be found on the Return to School page at the SPA website.