Community Health Office announces new COVID-19 protocols


Chloe Park/Chronicle

Savannah Shaub ’23 sits in her Chinese course surrounded by her classmates masked with surgical and KN95 masks.

Chloe Park and Tate Sheehy

The HW Community Health Office (CHO) announced new COVID-19 protocols regarding masks on Feb.16. Consistent with recently announced Los Angeles Department of Public Health guidelines, masks are no longer required outside, but indoors, masks must still be worn over the nose and mouth. Although KN95, N95 and KF94 masks are strongly recommended and KN95 masks will be provided by the school for those who want to wear them, they are no longer required.

Elliot Lichtman ’23 said he is glad KN95 masks are not necessary anymore and he hopes that the new mask mandate could be a sign of overcoming COVID-19.

“Most importantly, it’s a sign that cases are going down and we’re at least making progress towards ending [the pandemic],” Lichtman said.

Mathematics teacher Kent Palmer said although masks are uncomfortable, he is glad school can continue to be in-person.

“We’re all tired of wearing masks,” Palmer said. “That said, I continue to be grateful that I work at a place where the rules around COVID-19 safety, and people’s adherence to the rules have made it possible for us to keep having in-person school. If keeping my mask on indoors and showing up every week for my swabbing ritual means I don’t have to teach math into my computer with my dogs barking nonstop in the background, count me in.”

Nathan Casamassima ’24 said he is pleased about the new announcement as he can wear a more comfortable mask while remaining safe.

“I am happy about [the recent announcement],” Casamassima said. “KN-95s were kind of uncomfortable, so I am glad I can wear a nice cloth mask that is more comfortable and can still protect me from COVID-19. Things might not ever get back to normal, but I prefer for things to be as normal as possible. I think we are on the right track.”

Casamassima said he is also satisfied with how the CHO has handled COVID-19 thus far.

“I think [the Community Health Office] has been doing an amazing job, especially with testing every week with every grade, and staying really serious about who has COVID-19 and what they should do,” Casamassima said. “I haven’t gotten COVID-19 yet, and I feel super safe at this campus.”