How Can Face Masks Help Us Return to Classrooms? - Learning Through the Pandemic
Earlier this spring, schools around the world closed. "By early April, an astonishing 1.5 billion young people were staying home as part of broader shutdowns to protect people from the novel coronavirus." The measures worked in many places, dramatically slowing the spread of COVID-19.
With case numbers fluctuating between regions, the pandemic is causing school officials to decide what is most important. They are balancing the need to return students to classrooms, and the need to reduce health risks.
Schools across the nation are taking different approaches. Some schools have considered staggered schedules to allow students in school buildings in the hopes of maintaining social distance. Other schools are fully committing to online courses. Schools in New York City for instance, will partially reopen in the fall. This reflects a "growing trend among school systems, universities and colleges around the country" which are all looking for ways to balance the urgency of bringing students back to the classroom while reducing density to prevent further spread of the virus. Schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, however, will not be reopening for classes, with plans to continue online learning for now. It is clear that reopening decisions vary greatly across our country.
Those who return to schools (children, teenagers, university students, teachers and staff) will inevitably be at higher risk for exposure compared to students and teachers who are able to isolate at home. To prevent "spreading the virus to others when they express viral droplets from their nose or mouth through things like coughing, sneezing, or speaking", it is more important than ever to consider masks for your children.