Masks Optional in Schools as Kids Return

Liz Fe Lifestyle

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The 2020 year made the world stand still. Kids weren’t going to school but instead keeping themselves at home, safe and online learning. At the time this was the safest and most productive option to keep kids in school without having to hold them back, for the time being, it worked pretty well. But now that the world is deciding to push on and that means reevaluating what school will look like for students. Many schools have already gone back to in-person learning and many schools have taken away the option to learn at home. If students can be in school they should try to be but this leads to the question of “what do we do about the masks?”

Many counties and states have lifted the mask mandate allowing the wearing of a mask to be optional, while other parts of the country have not. The CDC now recommends that all students, teachers, and other staff wear masks in K-12 schools, even if they're vaccinated. This all comes out after the Ohio department of health came out with their 13-page guidance encouraging staff to help stop the spread of the virus no matter if you're vaccinated or not. Though it was pointed out by Governor Mike Dewine that this is guidance, not a mandate. Which unfortunately this line of thinking won't help in schools with students who think they know everything. Many schools have had the problem of students keeping their masks on due to it not being fully enforced.

One Ohio superintendent says that “We're going to have our kids coming back five days a week with masks being optional,” said Britton. "Especially in the community where we live and work, we were done wearing masks and as the governor said yesterday, there's not an appetite for wearing masks in the state right now.". Where this is all true that now because of the vaccine parents and students want to get their lives back in order so going mask-less seems like a good option. But this won't be a great option for those unvaccinated, students will start to be pulled out of school to quarantine more and more just from exposure alone.

This disrupts the teacher's way of teaching and the student's way of learning. Teachers have the hardest job when it comes to this because once a student goes into quarantine due to exposure or an actual infection then the teacher must come up with special assignments for them. And if a student is infected will they do the assignment if they are sick. If masks are worn all through school except for physical activity such as gym the spread of the virus could sufficiently lower in student age cases. These decisions will now be left in the hands of parents, leaving more and more students mostly maskless even with the CDC recommendation. But there aren’t many schools that can do with a recommendation but recommend. Therefore thousands of wipes and disinfectant products are being donated to schools across Ohio so that staff can do their part in keeping students safe. This is all a good step in the right direction.

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I run a Columbus-based digital publication with a specific focus on women empowerment. I'm passionate about socially progressive issues.

Columbus, OH
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