Survey Results of how CVHS Students Feel About Masks and COVID-19


Ally Richardson

The new guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) removed the requirement of universal indoor masking in K-12 schools, and bill SB 739, passed by the Virginia General Assembly on February 16, 2022 gave parents the ability to opt their children out of wearing a mask in school. Masks are now optional at Centreville High School (CVHS) and schools across the state. I created a survey for CVHS students to determine the school’s opinion of masks, and to see if the school’s opinions match the general consensus of the state government and the CDC on the issue of the mask mandates.


Procedure of the Survey

The survey titled, “Centreville High School COVID-19 Roll Back Survey” received 159 responses from students, with about half (50.9%) of the responses coming from seniors. The survey consisted of close-ended, multiple choice, slider-scale, and optional open-ended questions to elaborate on close-ended ones. Due to the timing of the survey’s release, some students took the survey before the masks were optional, whereas others took it after March 1, 2022, having a potential effect on their answers.


The following was the survey result regarding if masks should be optional:

“In the midst of the pandemic and in the middle of a dense school population, there are still many students who are at high risk to COVID-19 and/or live with family members who are at high risk. Any methods to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 should still be used to protect the health of students and/or their family members.” – Anonymous student


The following exhibits display the results of the survey:


The following exhibit displays answers regarding the effectiveness of masks:

“Mask[s] are good, however they aren’t perfect. Masks [are] only at peak performance if both sides wear them. Being vaccinated is just as important as wearing a mask. Masks are important, but masks alone wont finish [t]he job.” – Samuel Millman


“Masks are, scientifically, extremely effective at mitigating the spread of COVID-19, however, that science is only applicable if masks are properly worn at all times, which hasn’t been the case in our schools.” – Anonymous student


“They aren’t 100% effective but they’re definitely better than walking around without a mask and risking spreading COVID to those who aren’t strong enough to fight the virus themselves.” – Anonymous student


Most students acknowledged the faults of masks, but emphasized the necessity in continuing to use them.


The following exhibit displays the results when students were asked about how safe they felt coming into school with required masks:


“If everyone did the mitigation strategies, then I would feel completely safe, but there are those who do not mask or have good personal hygiene. There are those who are not vaccinated against Covid and they don’t wear their mask like they should. Also, teachers rarely enforce the mask policy or don’t don’t wear their mask properly themselves.” – Hayden Spencer


“Some kids still don’t wear them properly, social distancing is basically non existent at school, and people don’t really wash their hands but masks being required keeps the majority of students and staff from spreading COVID or catching it.” – Anonymous student


Many students said they felt safer with required masking and were unhappy with the poor teacher enforcement of mask wearing and the improper wearing of masks by their peers, during the time they were mandatory.


The following exhibit displays the results when students were asked how safe they felt coming into school with masks being optional:

“-While some may not be able to wear masks due to health concerns, most people who don’t want to wear masks won’t wear it because it’s uncomfortable or they view it as an infringement on their form of expression. However, it’s disappointing to see that they would be willing to put others more at risk for their own comfort. For me, I would not feel safe coming into school if masks were made optional because not only do I have a family member at high risk for COVID-19, but I know that many other students do as well. I am scared for both their sake and for mine.” – Anonymous student


“A lot of students already wear their masks improperly, so making masks optional doesn’t really change anything. Those that wore their masks properly will most likely continue to wear them while those that wore their masks improperly (which means that they weren’t mitigating the spread of COVID at all) will just not wear the masks, which results in no significant change in the likelihood of COVID spreading.” – Anonymous student


“I do think that with the cases being so low, it is ok for the most part. I think if you have been vaccinated against covid, then you are safer than those not vaccinated.” – Hayden Spencer


“At this point in time, every person is probably gonna contract covid at some point. I have gotten sick every year I have been a student at centreville. Covid is just becoming normal.” – Anonymous student


Some students insisted on continuing to wear masks, and expressed concern for those immunocompromised/high risk for COVID-19, while others emphasized the likelihood of a lack of cases rising and the large percentage of students that are vaccinated.


The following exhibit displays when students were asked about frequent interactions with those that are at high risk for COVID-19:


Proving to be a major factor in the responses of those supporting masks due to 69 of the 159 participants being around someone immunocompromised.


The following exhibit displays students responses when asked about their political ideology (1 representing liberal, 3 moderate, 5 conservative):


“Many of my friends who are liberals believe masks should be required but my friends who are conservative believe it should be based on how you feel and what makes you comfortable. It is sad to see that politics have deeply affected masks and protecting yourself, but that is what our society has come to. Instead of basing everything on your belief and politics, it should be based off of science and only science will tell you the truth.” – Vanessa Greenly


“While mask wearing has become a controversial issue, it shouldn’t be a question about freedom or politics, it’s a matter of public health (such as when a student is required to return home after showing symptoms of an illness). It’s about prevention of the spread of a lethal disease and should not be up to the discretion of the students.” – Chelseigh Bond


There will be a day when masks become an afterthought, but when that day should be, has been a dividing factor amongst students. The argument continues between “the new normal” (no more masks), and continuing to wear masks to protect others. With the issue of COVID-19 remaining controversial among students, particularly politically, it might be time to come to a compromise. It’s time for us to show compassion and understanding to all as we move forward and try to move on from this devastating pandemic.