COVID guidelines change rapidly but support for masks remains strong


Photo by Yearbook Staff

Students have been required to wear masks at WEGO since returning to hybrid learning in 2021.

By Daniel Kuriakose, Reporter

The West Chicago Community High School policies for COVID continue to change from what they were when the pandemic started over 2 and a half years ago, but most students continue to support masking in school. 

After vaccinations started to come out and be administered, health officials loosened up the masking and close contact policies. The new variants of COVID brought forth different symptoms, which were sometimes just reduced versions of the original strain’s symptoms. The most common symptoms used to be fever, cough, and tiredness, while headaches, runny noses, and sore throats were secondary symptoms. Now, those secondary symptoms have become much more standard. The time for quarantining also decreased from 10 days to 5 days on December 27, 2021. 

Senior Mariana Lopez wears a mask outside of Commons. (Photo by Yearbook Staff)

WEGO nurse Cathy Collins-Clark said, “We went from close contact fourteen days and gone down to five days, everything is five days. So the symptoms just aren’t that bad, but in the general high school population, you’ll have a sore throat, runny nose, headache type of thing.”

Masking in Illinois schools has long been mandated through a state-wide order under Governor J.B. Pritzker. Recently, a Sangamon County Circuit Court judge ruled that the governor’s policy was an overstep of his legal authority. While other schools have gone mask-optional, students at West Chicago Community High School have mixed views about masking.

Freshman Brayan Tecuanapa said, “I think it [the policy] is pretty good. It is required to wear a mask, and I think that it is good.”

Tecuanapa emphasized the importance of masking, and that the current policy should stay in place. He also believes that the current policy is well-administered and effective. 

Freshman Daron Marin said, “I don’t think that [the current policy] is bad. We get some freedom to take off our masks at some times.”

COVID-19 mitigation strategies and guidelines continue to be updated on a regular basis. Some students and staff hope this will be the last year they have to wear masks in school.

“I’m going to keep my fingers crossed, and really hope for August because I know everyone is done with the masks and everything else,” said Collins-Clarke.

Currently, all schools are expected to move to a mask-optional policy by March 5.