After a recent letter from a parent of Saint Ignatius High School started circulating online about the new mask mandate at school, I thought it important to share a student perspective on the matter.
My request is this: parents, stay out of student business. Although I would guess the majority of students are not in favor of a mask mandate at Saint Ignatius, I would venture to say that most also do not care whether the school asks one to be in effect or not. The general reaction I received from the inside when the mask mandate was announced was an eye roll, a sigh, and a hopeful comment that maybe next semester we will be back to normal. Further, the students would much rather wear masks than go back to online school. I find that the majority of parents who complain about mask rules in local schools do not ask their children for their opinion, but instead go over their head to complain about something that does not directly affect that parent. Although you may get kicked off campus for refusing to wear a mask when you visit, a mask mandate does not directly affect any parents of Saint Ignatius High School. It is not any parent’s place to berate the principal, president, or any faculty, staff, or students of Saint Ignatius with false facts, because of hurt feelings, or because they think a change to the dress code is changing their ability to “provide for the health and well being of [their] children.” I find it simply absurd that you think this impairs your ability to keep your child healthy. I implore you parents, leave the communication to the students and the administration. Open lines of communication between students and administrators are present. The school does a phenomenal job educating your sons to be self-sufficient and make decisions for themselves. The issue in this situation is not the school but the parents who write in. Allow your children to petition the school themselves if they feel so obliged, but please stay out of business that does not affect you.
Parents are not “customers” of the school, but patrons who share the school’s goal of giving your child the best possible set up for a successful life. If the school believes that includes a mask mandate, then I trust and stand behind that. Even if the school and parents had a “supplier-consumer” relationship, the supplier does not answer to the consumer except in delivering on promises, and the consumer does not have a say in the moral standpoint of the company. In any case, Dr. Fior has promised numerous times that his job is to advocate for the student in all cases, and I firmly believe and trust that he is doing so.
Although Saint Ignatius is an institution of “pedagogy,” the administration is backed by a group of doctors and researchers from University Hospitals, an organization I think you’ll agree is one of “epidemiology,” advising them on health matters. Further, the school is in fact an institution of learning, often encouraging students to do their own research. As an institution of learning, it is important for the school, my classmates, and myself to examine the facts objectively. The school has done their part in honest, factual research. Parents would do well to follow this institution that they “strongly love” by doing the same.
Finally, the anecdotal statistics provided about mental health intrigue me. I do not know what the goal was in including such statistics, but I must say, the mask mandate is not taking away from any Saint Ignatius experience or the constant strive for excellence the school commits itself to. The school is not diverting resources away from things like mental health crises for this to happen, and the school cannot help its students with driving. Regardless of how prevalent these issues are in comparison to COVID-19, the school is protecting the students against what it knows it can, which includes COVID-19 as well as mental health issues.
Sean Uhran ‘22