BREAKING: Harker announces end of indoor masking requirement starting April 18


Alysa Suleiman

Brendon Hayes (9) and Akul Goyal (9), members of Harker Robotics’ mechanical and machining team, wear masks inside Nichols as they run the router during Robotics’ weekend work session today. As of April 18, Harker will no longer require middle and upper school community members to wear masks indoors.

by Isha Moorjani and Ananya Sriram

Harker will no longer require wearing masks indoors for middle and upper school students starting on April 18, according to an email sent by Head of School Brian Yager on Thursday. 

This announcement follows Santa Clara County’s decision to comply with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mask mandate removal in schools starting on March 11 at 11:59 p.m. Masks are recommended but not required. According to Yager, the school’s decision to remove the mandate starting on April 18 is due to uncertainty surrounding testing, quarantine, isolation, positive COVID-19 cases and the spread of COVID-19.  

Masks will still be required indoors for one week after spring break so that students can take COVID-19 tests before the new mask guidelines go into effect. According to Yager, for the remainder of the school year, students will wear masks during indoor athletic and performing arts events, although performers are not required to wear masks. According to upper school nurse Jennifer Olson, class meetings can be in-person or remote.

According to Yager, bus passengers must wear masks, and some teachers may require masks during class due to health risks. The school will not require students to remove masks.

Students must wear masks during standardized testing, and students of teachers with health risks may be required to wear masks. Weekly COVID-19 testing on Fridays will continue for the rest of the year, and it was first implemented on Feb. 4.

“I feel slightly uncomfortable about removing masks indoors despite it being two years since COVID-19 has broken out,” Ipsita Mandal (10) said. “It feels unclear what might happen in the future. I feel that once we remove masks cases will start rising, and after a couple of weeks things could become worse again.”

According to Yager, if the county or state does not implement guidelines regarding masking in schools, Harker will not require masks during the summer or next school year.

A previous version of this article stated that Head of School Brian Yager’s email was sent today instead of Thursday, March 3. The article has been updated on March 5, 2022, to reflect the correction of this error.