Vaccine Mandates and Where We Stand Now

Teachers Keep Students Safe By Masking Up In The Classroom


Juan Agraz, Staff Writer

As we approach the end of our first semester back on campus, and a change of seasons, our thoughts may return to our health and safety protocols. Recently, Mrs. Maessen shared her thoughts about health standards on campus and throughout the District.

“Truthfully,” she said when asked about her opinion on the new rules that are being implemented in school, “I think more safety rules and regulations should be enforced during this ongoing pandemic period. I am not against vaccinations. At this point in our lives, we’ve all likely received our immunizations by taking vaccinations against preventable diseases. Therefore, I will continue to take the advice from my doctors, as well as my daughter’s doctor, that it is important to become vaccinated.  The most recent Delta variant continues to rapidly spread, so yes, I feel it’s important for youth to realize the importance of becoming vaccinated in order to provide the healthiest and safest school environment for the community.”

We have a lot of parents, not just from this district, but from other places around the country, saying that schools shouldn’t be opened. Mrs. Maessen shared her opinion on all of this. She said, “I can understand, and agree with parents who express this sentiment. Personally, I am also not comfortable with being in my classroom with 20 students.  We are in close proximity to each other during a time when the Delta variant is rapidly spreading. Perhaps a hybrid type of schedule would be best during this time, or even smaller classroom sizes to prevent the spread.”

While I am on campus, everywhere I look, and everywhere I go, I see students and staff members wearing masks. I have noticed that some students are not wearing their masks properly, so I began to get curious about what teachers think. How do teachers enforce mask usage and things like that. Mrs. Maessen shared her thoughts. She stated, “It’s important that we continue to properly wear them inside the classroom by placing the mask entirely over both our mouth and nose. We must be vigilant in wearing our masks properly in order to combat the spread of COVID-19.  It’s understandable that at times they may become uncomfortable, so take a moment to go outside and get some fresh air before returning to the classroom.  As a community, it is our duty to encourage peers inside the classroom to continue to wear their masks properly. Please don’t rely on staff to constantly be the reminders. You all are young adults, and one way to help the community is to take the time to kindly remind our people to mask up in our class.”

Recent news reports have shown that the Delta variant is now out there. I thought the district might make the choice to send us back to online learning. I asked Mrs. Maessen about her thoughts of a possible return to online learning. “Yes,” she said, “with the cold season here, it’s very likely that we will be back to online learning. And indeed, it can have a negative impact on many people who are not able to entirely find an uninterrupted environment to work.” 

Mrs. Maessen was kind enough to offer words of encouragement for the Gilbert High School and our community during these tough times. She emphasized, “Continue to remind yourself that these are not normal times. We are overworked, overextended, and stressed out during this pandemic period, so be sure to find healthy ways to take care of yourself.  While we are here, we have the potential to come together to help educate, encourage, and uplift the community. Hang in there, and let’s continue to spread good vibes, and take care of each other.”