The Day Poly Went Mask Optional: How Did Students and Faculty Respond?


Jenna Reyfman, Grade 5
“[The last time I was in school without a mask was] 2020 and I was 8…I am turning 11 in May. It was a little weird, without the mask and seeing everybody without it. I thought it was surprising to see everyone’s faces without the mask.”

Kyra Neamonitakis, Grade 9                                                                                                                                                                                   “Seventh grade [was the last time I didn’t have to wear a mask], and now I am a freshman in high school.”

Chloe Yaffe, Grade 10                                                                                                                                                                                                  “I really like it. It’s nice to not have to wear a mask anymore, but it obviously feels a little weird and I find myself reaching for my mask that isn’t there. It’s taking a little bit of getting used to, but overall I like it.”

Lily Drye, Grade 11
“I think it’s good, as long as it’s safe, as long as we continue to test and if we see a lot of breakouts and everybody getting COVID, then we obviously should go back to having masks.”

Charlie Plym, Grade 11
“I felt for kind of a while now the masks were unnecessary, and they were just an annoyance. I think students overall were happier as there have been studies that show seeing one another smile makes us happy.”

Ben Rosenberg, Grade 12
“I’d say it feels very different from two months ago, but not so different from say two weeks ago.”

Overall the majority of students on campus have chosen to not wear a mask. These opinions are not reflective of every student of Poly Prep.


AJ Blandford
Upper School History Teacher
“Well, obviously I don’t agree with the new policy because I’m wearing a mask. And I think Poly is in a really special position because we were able to create a community that’s fully vaccinated and we have testing and that’s because of resources that we have that other schools don’t have… While I understand the scientific rationale for unmasking, I think that one thing this pandemic has really pointed out to me and many people is the structural inequities that we have in our society.”

Señor Rubinson
Spanish Teacher
“I feel liberated, although sometimes I feel like something is missing, and I am like OMG. I have to put the mask on.”

Dr. Omari W. Keeles
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
“I think the science has proved that it’s pretty safe for people to go maskless at school, but you know since I’m around people who have compromised immune systems I just prefer to wear mine, but we all feel a different way about it.”

Patti Tycenski
Health Teacher
“I like the fact that people can choose, but I’m also ready to throw it back on and wear it the whole rest of the year if COVID numbers go back up.”

Jared Winston
Director of Student Life
“Generally, the sentiment that I have picked up from students is that they are happy with the new policy. I definitely see more smiling faces, but that’s not to say they weren’t smiling when masked.”