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The Hot Debate Rages On: To Mask or Not to Mask in Schools

As the 2021-2022 school year is beginning around the country, the hot debate over whether or not to require masks in schools rages on. With fiery discourse taking place every day in the news and on social media, proponents on each side have taken a strong stance on the topic, and it certainly doesn’t seem like they’ll be reaching an agreement anytime soon.

Let’s take a look at what each side has to say about whether or not our students should be required to continue wearing masks during the upcoming school year.

For those who are opposed to students wearing masks, most of it boils down to personal choice and freedom. Proponents on this side of the debate often cite their personal freedoms being taken away by big government mandates that they abhor. Several states such as Texas, South Carolina, and Florida have actually banned mask mandates within their states.

Some of the other popular arguments against wearing masks in schools are:

  • They don’t work anyways
  • Kids can’t get COVID (we know that’s not true, because pediatric ICU’s are filled with kids with COVID)
  • They can make kids sick by breathing in germs, mold, and carbon dioxide
  • Kids will just take them off
  • Masks are detrimental to speech and language development in young children

For those who support kids wearing masks in schools, the decision is based on the recommendations of both medical professionals and scientists. Proponents on this side of the debate cite the growing numbers of COVID-19 cases, especially the highly contagious Delta variant that is on the rise.  This new variant is faster to spread and more virulent.

They argue that:

  • Both the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) say that masks do work, and they recommend wearing them to slow the spread of COVID.
  • Studies show that kids can get COVID and that they can have serious complications such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome.  As of August 5, 2021 nearly 4.3 million children have tested positive for COVID.
  • Hospitals, such as Johns Hopkins, have publicly stated that you don’t actually breathe in carbon dioxide when wearing a mask, and that germs and mold are killed through regular laundering.
  • Experts say children over 2 can and should wear masks and be shown how to wear them properly.
  • Professionals say babies’ speech and language development can be delayed with mask-wearing, but that can be remedied with clear masks or face shields.

So, what do school administrators, teachers, and parents think when it comes to another school year of wearing masks all day every day? Well, it depends on who you ask.

The two largest teachers unions have supported the updated guidelines recommending that all administrators, teachers, staff, and students wear masks indoors at all times.

Many parents, on the other hand, have pushed back and are against mask mandates.   Others remain concerned that their children will not be protected as cases continue to rise, and since,  children under 12 are still unable to receive the vaccine at this time, they are concerned for the health and safety of their children.

Virtual education can help solve this problem and these debates.  Moving back to virtual classes can be very effective from a learning perspective if the right technology is used.  We are talking virtual, not online.  Virtual instructor led, teacher and students are in an actual classroom, with all the content and capabilities of a traditional classroom. 

Quizzing, testing, whiteboards, reading materials, videos, collaboration, customizable small group rooms, all these are available when you use Jigsaw Interactive. When you add the learning behaviors, immediate quiz/test results, performance, engagement and attendance data at your fingertips, Jigsaw provides more learning and teaching options than what can be done in a traditional classroom.

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