Oregon Health Authority Accelerates the End of the Mask Mandate to March 12


Lukas Werner

Statewide mask mandates will end in Oregon — as well as in Washington and California — on March 12.

Avery Rush, Editor in Chief

Last week, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced that the expiration of Oregon’s indoor mask mandate would be moved up once again, this time to March 12. This date falls on the two-year anniversary of La Salle’s initial closure due to COVID-19, and the announcement has sparked a variety of reactions throughout the school community.

“I think it’s important that everyone makes sure they stay healthy especially if we don’t have a mask mandate anymore,” said junior Ellie Sandholm. 

Sandholm expressed that if people choose not to wear masks, they should continue to monitor their health “so if they aren’t wearing masks, they also aren’t spreading the coronavirus,” she said.

To gather feedback on potential changes to the COVID-19 protocols at La Salle, the administration sent out individual surveys to both parents and students.

Students’ feedback on the survey yielded a mix of opinions, with 37.4% of respondents voicing they want masks to still be required, and 58% of respondents voicing that they feel masks should become optional, according to Vice Principal of Student Life Mr. Brian Devine. The Google Form also offered an “other” option, which allowed students to share more specific suggestions.

“I think we’re at the stage where we’re slowly shifting from pandemic to endemic, so it does make sense,” junior Charlie Buckman said. “I think it would be a lot better for them to be optional because it gives people the choice to still wear masks if they want to, but if they don’t want to, they don’t need to.”

Another student voiced a stronger sense of enthusiasm for the potential end of mask requirements at La Salle. “I’m pretty excited, personally,” senior Jeremy McKay said. “I don’t know how to describe the exact change, but it’s — socially it’s very different, not being able to see people’s faces.”

McKay also said that he will no longer be wearing a mask if he doesn’t have to, as he feels that he is thoroughly protected against the virus. “I’m vaxxed, I’m boosted, and I’ve had [COVID-19], so I don’t really care anymore at this point,” he said.

As businesses across the state of Oregon prepare plans for how they will react to the change in mask guidelines, schools throughout the state will do the same. “We will definitely be consulting with principals from the other Catholic schools in the area, and understanding what their policies are going to be,” Mr. Devine said.

On March 3, La Salle’s administration will meet to discuss the future of coronavirus protocols at school, given the new recommendations from the Center for Disease Controls and Prevention, the Oregon Department of Education, and the OHA. 

Stay tuned to The Falconer for further coverage regarding coronavirus protocols.

Additional reporting for this story was contributed by Media Editor Lukas Werner.